Tropical disease experts call for a 'Global Fund to Fight Neglected Tropical Diseases'

Mar 26, 2008

An international team of tropical disease control experts has urged the global health and development community, and particularly the G8 leaders, to establish a new financing mechanism to combat the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) of poverty.

A "Global Fund to Fight Neglected Tropical Diseases," say Professor Hotez (Sabin Vaccine Institute and George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA) and colleagues, would "satisfy an urgent need to support NTD control and elimination." Their argument is published in the March 26th issue of the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The NTDs, such as intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, elephantiasis, and river blindness, represent the most common infections of the world's poorest—the bottom billion. They are a major reason, say the authors, why the world's poorest people cannot escape a vicious, downward spiral of poverty.

Fortunately, they say, "we are now in a unique position to control or eliminate some of the highest burden NTDs through integrated use of donated drugs." The mass administration of such drugs just once a year has been the cornerstone of global projects aimed at tackling several of the NTDs, and the launch of a dedicated fund to scale up these activities would be "one of the most cost-effective and urgently needed approaches for sustainable poverty reduction."

A blueprint for such a funding mechanism already exists: the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, established in 2002, has attracted $4.7 billion in financing for these three diseases. Professor Hotez and colleagues argue that the mandate of this fund could easily be expanded to include the NTDs.

Thus a new fund for NTDs could be established that uses a similar mechanism to that of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Countries burdened by NTDs would apply to the new fund for financing for NTD control efforts, and an expert board (supported by the expertise of the World Health Organization) could vet the applications.

"An important next step,” say the authors, “would be to address global NTD control at the annual G8 leaders summit." The summit will be held in Hokkaido Toyako, Japan, later this year. "While gathered in Japan, the development community needs a robust discussion about the importance of the NTDs as global health, educational, and economic threats."

The G8 summit, they say, presents an opportunity for G8 leaders to consider earmarking specific funds for NTD control. "A comparatively modest amount of funds—in the range of $2 billion in total over 5 years—should be deposited and earmarked for treatment programs targeting the poorest populations in the poorest countries."

The proposal to establish a "Global Fund to Fight Neglected Tropical Diseases" is co-authored by Professor David Molyneux (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK), Professor Alan Fenwick (Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, Imperial College London, UK), Dr Lorenzo Savioli (Director, Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland), and Professor Tsutomu Takeuchi (Department of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan).

Citation: Hotez PJ, Molyneux DH, Fenwick A, Savioli L, Takeuchi T (2008) A Global Fund to Fight Neglected Tropical Diseases: Is the G8 Hokkaido Toyako 2008 Summit Ready" PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2(3): e220. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000220

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Big strides made in fighting TB, says WHO

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Weather history time machine

Oct 15, 2014

During the 1930s, North America endured the Dust Bowl, a prolonged era of dryness that withered crops and dramatically altered where the population settled. Land-based precipitation records from the years ...

NASA's HS3 looks Hurricane Edouard in the eye

Sep 30, 2014

NASA and NOAA scientists participating in NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel (HS3) mission used their expert skills, combined with a bit of serendipity on Sept. 17, 2014, to guide the remotely piloted ...

Recommended for you

Big strides made in fighting TB, says WHO

31 minutes ago

The known tally of people with tuberculosis rose last year but overall "major progress" is being made in rolling back the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday.

In US, Ebola fears rise but most confident in response

5 hours ago

After two health care workers in Texas were infected with Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient, a poll Tuesday showed a rattled US public that nevertheless stayed confident in the government's response.

'Humbled' NBC cameraman recovers from Ebola

6 hours ago

A US photojournalist said Tuesday he was grateful to be alive after the hospital treating him declared him now free of Ebola, in a minor victory over the virus that has killed more than 4,500 people.

User comments : 0