Global Health Partners Continue to Urge the Inclusion of Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

 

ARK_4141

In a recently-released policy brief, partners from the global health community continue to urge all United Nations (UN) Member States to ensure that the forthcoming post-2015 framework include specific targets for the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs); Doing so would reduce human suffering, increase economic prosperity and help achieve greater global equality for more than one billion people affected by NTDs in the developing world.

Because NTDs have far reaching effects on several other poverty and development interventions – such as efforts to increase maternal and child health, combat HIV/AIDS and increase school attendance and nutrition – the inclusion of NTDs in the post-2015 framework would be a win for not just the NTD community, but for all those seeking to end poverty, increase health and boost prosperity.

Even more, when integrated with water and sanitation, nutrition, child and maternal health, and education initiatives, NTD control and elimination efforts are proven more effective and sustainable. The overlapping nature of NTDs should be clearly stated in the final post-2015 development agenda, state the co-signers of the policy brief.

Investing in the control and elimination is a “best buy” and one of the most cost-effective health interventions in global health. For approximately US $0.50 per person per year, we can treat and prevent these diseases and in turn improve nutrition, education, maternal and child health, and HIV outcomes, and set the stage for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

UN Secretary General has already echoed the importance of NTD control and elimination efforts in the fight against poverty. “I share your view that poverty reduction and the elimination of NTDs go hand-in-hand,” he said in October, 2013.

NTDs have already been included in the UN High Level Panel’s final 2013 report on the post-2015 agenda; in the World Health Assembly’s May 2014 resolution on health and the post-2015 development agenda; and, just last week in the UN’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals’ final draft of the Proposed Sustainable Development Goals and Targets for the post-2015 agenda.

While the inclusion of NTDs in the preceding reports and resolutions is a very promising sign, government leaders must continue to support the inclusion of health goals and targets for NTDs during the Member State negotiations throughout the coming year. This continued support will help build momentum leading up to the final post-2015 development agenda and its ultimate approval in the fall of 2015.

To read the full brief, click here. And to read more about NTDs and the post-2015 development agenda, click here.

Free Online Class Teaches Students How to Change the World and End NTDs!

 

5660728511_d47fa45f23

Thanks to an online course beginning today, it’s now possible to learn just what it takes to change the world – for free! From climate change to global health and gender equality, the Coursera class, titled “How to Change the World” will give ordinary people the stats, knowledge and facts to become change-makers and advocates for a better world.

At Global Network, we’re especially excited that neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and our END7 campaign are featured in this week’s class – and the 20,000 people from around the world who are already enrolled in will be exposed to some of the most common yet easily treated diseases in the developing world.

The course, which attracted 60,000 online students during its initial run in February 2014, is led by Michael Roth, President of Wesleyan University. This week’s topic, “Disease and Global Health Care,” introduces course enrollees to key global health challenges and innovative approaches to care. A lecture on “Care, Organization, and Making a Difference” includes a presentation given by Dr. Neeraj Mistry, Managing Director of the Global Network; David Harris, executive creative director of Draftfcb in London; and Peter Koechley, co-founder of UpWorthy at the 2013 Social Good Summit in New York City. In the presentation, “Is Shock Value an Effective Way to Spur Social Good?,” Dr. Mistry explained the END7 campaign’s goal to create a movement around the NTD control and elimination effort:

“We have a wonderful public-private partnership with the pharmaceutical industry who are donating all the drugs, and we have great technical experts that actually help to ensure that these drugs get to the people that require them. So now we need to create the movement to ensure that it’s seeded in the public consciousness, and that enables us to influence policy and get more money for the cause for essentially a voiceless community.”

Footage from END7’s “How to Shock a Celebrity” video is also included in another lecture this week on “Major Health Challenges and Responses,” introducing course enrollees to the physical effects of NTDs.

Given the wide-ranging impact of NTDs – including reduced economic productivity and educational attainment, malnutrition and increased susceptibility to illness, and stunted physical and cognitive development – it is encouraging to see NTD treatment highlighted as a key global health intervention. We are excited to see END7 featured in this innovative public forum as a platform for “How to Change the World,” and excited to invite new supporters to join our campaign!

Friday Reading List

Parliamentarians Prioritize Global Health Innovation in the European Parliament

 

The following is a guest blog post from Andrea Corazza, European Advocacy Officer, Global Health Advocates*

Through its policies, legislation and bilateral/regional trade agreements, the European Union (EU) has a major impact on global health both in terms of research and development (R&D) of new and improved medicines for Poverty-Related and Neglected Diseases[1] (PRNDs) and their accessibility to populations in developing countries.

To ensure that EU policies deliver a coherent, comprehensive and pro-active response to address these issues, Global Health Advocates and the Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign created the European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases together with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) back in 2009.

This Working Group provides a platform to ensure that global health issues remain high on the EU agenda and to advocate for the adoption of EU policies that stimulate innovation for urgently-needed health tools and improve access to existing medicines, diagnostics and vaccines. The working group regularly organises high-level events, meetings and occasionally field visits for MEPs, EU institutions’ staff and parliamentarians from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to show, among others, the impact of R&D gaps on the health of populations in developing countries and foster the understanding of decision-makers on these issues.

Following recent elections at the European Parliament in May 2014, the Working Group, which gathers about 300 members from a broad range of stakeholders, is renewing its membership to bring additional energy and commitment to its work and activities. Former members have testified about the importance of the Group and are inviting new MEPs to join  via this short and inspiring video:

Both Horizon 2020, the EU €70 billion Research and Innovation Programme, and the continuation of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), a partnership between the European Commission and several European and African countries, present great opportunities to increase the EU’s contribution towards research and innovation for PRNDs in the coming years. By raising the profile of these issues, contributing to annual budget negotiations and using their power of scrutiny over EU policies, members of the Working Group will play a crucial role in ensuring that EU institutions are engaged in the fight against PRNDs both politically and financially.

To join the Working Group or for further information, please send an email to ep-accessgroup@msf.org

*Global Health Advocates is a non-governmental organisation based in Paris and Brussels that advocates for policy change at the highest political level and mobilizes resources to tackle major health threats and build sustainable health systems.


[1] As intended here, PRNDs include the three big diseases of poverty (HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria) and the 17 Neglected Tropical Diseases recognized by the World Health Organization.