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08.04.2014 Health

Global Partners renew support to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases

By GNA
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The funding will also support school-based deworming programmes.

A statement issued and copied to Ghana News Agency said the World Bank Group, which has a long history of supporting the fight against NTDs through the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control, has joined others that have contributed crucial resources to combat NTDs since the launch of the London Declaration in 2012, despite a tough global economy.

The World Bank Groups announcement of their partnership was made when global leaders met in Paris at the Institut Pasteur.

The partnership has catalysed momentum and crucial resources against NTDs-parasitic and bacterial infections that put one in six people worldwide at risk of being sick, disabled or disfigured.

The new resources would be used in the West African Sahel, the Senegal River Basin and Madagascar in response to increasing demand from countries seeking integrated solutions to address more of these diseases, the statement said.

The gathering coincided with the release of a new report highlighting gains over the past two years, including pharmaceutical companies meeting 100 per cent of requests for drugs, and endemic countries taking ownership of NTD programmes.

Mr Tim Evans, Director of Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group, said: "The World Bank Group is mobilising new support to African countries to help them eliminate these preventable diseases and liberate people, especially children, from their destructive grip."

It is noted that two years after the launch of a landmark private and public partnership, the world is accelerating progress in combating 10 NTDs.

The 10 diseases covered by the London Declaration include river blindness, Guinea worm, lymphatic filariasis, blinding trachoma, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, leprosy, Chagas disease, visceral leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness.

NTDs excessively affect the worlds poorest and most vulnerable populations and since the 2012 London Declaration, 13 leading pharmaceutical companies, global health organisations, private foundations, and donor and endemic country governments have collectively put their weight behind a new push to reduce the global burden of NTDs.

The partnership has made strong progress in ramping up efforts to reach the World Health Organisation (WHO)s goals to control or eliminate a number of these diseases by the end of the decade.

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO said the tremendous progress seen over the past two years was a proof of the power of partnerships and the generosity of companies that made commitments under the London Declaration.

Together with the governments of endemic countries, we are fast approaching the goal of controlling or eliminating many of these ancient causes of human misery. This is a pro-poor initiative that is improving the lives of more than a billion people, she added.

Several partners also announced new funding towards the fight against NTDs and would be committing more than 120 million dollars to address intestinal worms common in communities with limited access to clean water and sanitation, including million from the Childrens Investment Fund Foundation .

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is investing $ 50 million to explore the feasibility of interrupting transmission and mitigating the risks of drug resistance, as well as the most effective cross-sector approaches.

Dubai Cares is designing programmes that will integrate nutrition, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and deworming interventions in schools to increase student enrollment and learning outcomes.

Mundo Sano is investing $ 8 million for more than five years to test strategies in partnership with local governments for deworming, and to develop combination treatments in partnership with Chemo Group.

Vitamin Angels is committing $ 4.5 million to scale up deworming with Vitamin A distributions and to provide implementation support through local partners to eligible pre-school children.

WaterAid is working to deliver WASH programmes in NTD-endemic areas and to foster collaboration between WASH stakeholders and agencies working on NTDs, education, nutrition and health.

The Global Partnership for Education , in collaboration with the World Bank Group, is assisting education sectors in developing countries to deliver donated deworming drugs to children.

The World Food Programme is working to ensure deworming is provided to millions of children as part of current school feeding programmes.

Through the French Agency for Development , France is renewing its commitment with a 2 million grant to DNDi, a pharmaceutical company, to develop new drugs against visceral leishmaniasis.

This contribution comes in addition to the 5 million recently granted by AFD to DNDi for the fight against malaria, sleeping sickness and pediatric HIV.

The statement explained that endemic countries have significantly increased demand for treatments in the past two years, enabled by drug donations from pharmaceutical companies that have essentially removed drug supply as a barrier for a number of NTDs.

It said more than 70 countries have designed large-scale, low-cost national treatment plans for multiple NTDs, leading endemic countries to reach a number of control and elimination targets.

In addition, 194 Member States at the 2013 World Health Assembly passed a resolution to hold themselves accountable and take ownership of NTD programmes.

Pharmaceutical companies are also accelerating research and development efforts for new diagnostic tools and treatments in partnership with non-profit and other research and development organisations, as well as driving new implementation strategies.

GNA

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