10 tropical diseases to be controlled or eliminated by 2020

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A worldwide public and private partnership is raising nearly $800m in an effort to deal with 10 neglected tropical diseases within the next 8 years.

The partnership, comprising 13 pharmaceutical companies, the UK, US and UAE governments, the World Bank and other global foundations, has promised to work closely with affected countries to eliminate or control 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Tropical Diseases

The partnership's goal by 2020 is to eradicate the following NTDs:

  • Blinding trachoma
  • Chagas disease
  • Guinea worm disease
  • Leprosy
  • Lymphatic filariasis
  • River blindness
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Sleeping sickness
  • Soil-transmitted helminthes
  • Visceral leishmaniasis

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), neglected tropical diseases affect 1.4 billion people, most of whom live in the world's poorest countries.

In an official statement at London's Royal College of Physicians, the partners announced that they would fight NTDs by expanding or sustaining drug donation programmes to meet demand until the end of the decade.

Participants have between them earmarked over $785 million to share knowledge of tropical diseases, improve R&D efforts and support drug distribution and implementation programmes. A new report from the WHO has set out what targets could be met by 2020.

The Minister for International Development, Stephen O'Brien, paid tribute to the spirit of international co-operation which underpins the partnership. "The world has come together to end the neglect of these horrific diseases which needlessly disable, blind and kill millions of the world's poorest.

"Britain and other partners are leading the way to provide critical treatments to millions of people, which allow children to attend school and parents to provide for their families so that they can help themselves out of poverty and eventually no longer rely on aid."

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO, said that the efforts of her organisation, researchers, partners, and the contributions of industry have changed the face of NTDs.

"These ancient diseases are now being brought to their knees with stunning speed," said Dr Chan. "With the boost to this momentum being made today, I am confident almost all of these diseases can be eliminated or controlled by the end of this decade."


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