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).
PLEASE ADD THIS LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://www.plosntds.org/doi/pntd.0000220 (link will go live on Wednesday, March 26)
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
Professor Peter Hotez
Sabin Vaccine Institute and George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA
Professor David Molyneux
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Lymphatic Filariasis Support Centre
Liverpool, L3 5QA
Tel +44 (0)151 705 3291
Prof. Alan Fenwick O.B.E.
Professor of Tropical Parasitology
SCI – Imperial College
Dept Infectious Disease Epidemiology
St. Mary’s Campus
London W2 1PG
Tel +44 20 7594 3418
Cell +44 7811 708313
PLEASE MENTION THE OPEN-ACCESS JOURNAL PLoS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES (www.plosntds.org) AS THE SOURCE FOR THIS ARTICLE AND PROVIDE A LINK TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE TEXT. THANK YOU.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published weekly by the Public Library of Science (PLoS).
****EMBARGO in place until: Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 5pm PDT/8pm EDT***
This press release refers to an upcoming article in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The release is provided by journal staff. Any opinions expressed in these releases or articles are the personal views of the journal staff and/or article contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLoS. PLoS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the releases and articles and your use of such information.
About PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (http://www.plosntds.org/) is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal devoted to the pathology, epidemiology, prevention, treatment, and control of the neglected tropical diseases, as well as public policy relevant to this group of diseases. All works published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases are open access, which means that everything is immediately and freely available subject only to the condition that the original authorship and source are properly attributed. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License, and copyright is retained by the authors.
About the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org.
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.