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February 06, 2020

GHTC delivers statement on NTDs at WHO Executive Board Meeting

The following statement—from Global Health Council, supported by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Global Health Technologies Coalition—was delivered at the 146th session of the WHO Executive Board Meeting on agenda item 13: Neglected tropical diseases.

Global Health Council, supported by the Global Health Technologies Coalition, thanks the chair and distinguished delegates for this opportunity to comment on neglected tropical diseases agenda item.

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are inextricably linked to poverty and inequality. These diseases exact a heavy toll, causing chronic illness, severe disfigurement, blindness, and even death. More than 1.5 billion people are estimated to require interventions against NTDs each year with many existing tools inadequate to effectively treat populations in low-income and low-resource settings. Increased attention in recent years has brought new resources to the fight against NTDs and fueled research breakthroughs. Yet, very significant gaps remain in the arsenal of tools needed to control and eliminate these diseases, underscoring the need for research and development (R&D) of new tools.

We call on the World Health Organization (WHO) and member states to support programs that help catalyze innovation and build capacity to develop new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics, and urge WHO to facilitate greater coordination across the full scope of diseases. Accelerated programmatic action could advance scientific understanding for developing new tools, improving strategies, and strengthening service delivery. We urge member states to fill key gaps by investing in R&D for new and improved treatments and prevention tools, including therapies designed for children and shorter, simplified regimens with fewer side effects.

Finally, we ask WHO to support the official adoption of World NTD Day to continue to raise awareness and shine a light on these under-resourced diseases.

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