Time to take ‘neglected’ out of neglected tropical diseases

This morning in London, 13 pharmaceutical companies, the US, UK and UAE governments, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank and other global health organizations announced a new plan to eliminate or control 10 neglected tropical diseases, which disproportionally affect 1.4 billion of the world’s poorest people.

Dr Caroline Anstey of the World Bank said: “These are not neglected diseases -– but rather diseases of neglected people.”

The aim is to eliminate Guinea worm, leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, blinding trachoma and sleeping sickness by 2020, and control schistosomiasis, river blindness, soil-transmitted helminthes, Chagas disease and visceral leishmaniasis. These diseases cause misery, suffering, disfigurement and death -– and when they don’t kill the seriously affect the lives of many people.

At the event today, $785 million dollars was pledged to support research efforts into the diseases, and to strengthen distribution to make sure the vital drugs get to the people who need them.

Bill Gates said that it was “thrilling to go from an idea a year ago to this milestone event with ambitious goals.”

You can read more in depth information about the 10 diseases, and watch a recording of today’s event at unitingtocombatNTDs.org.

Here’s a great infographic that explains the problem and solution (click to enlarge):