German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases. Stakeholders from civil society, the scientific community and the private sector from across Germany convened in Berlin to participate in a special parliamentary evening introducing the newly-formed alliance, which is dedicated to controlling and eliminating 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020.
By joining with the United States and the United Kingdom — two leaders in providing funding for NTD programs — Germany has the potential to play a key role in accelerating efforts to control and eliminate NTDs.
The German Network launch event was covered by seven different German media outlets and attended by a broad group of more than 50 participants, including the German government. The Global Network’s Managing Director, Dr. Neeraj Mistry, provided the closing presentation, identifying opportunities for German partners to help fill the current NTD funding gap.
Dr. Jürgen May, professor at Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine Hamburg and spokesman for the Network, expressed his confidence in the new coalition. The members are united by their shared desire to eliminate diseases such as schistosomiasis and African sleeping sickness, which primarily occur in tropical countries and typically thrive in impoverished settings. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is also now showing how important it is to bolster efforts to fight poverty-related diseases. Many of us have been involved in this arena for a long time. Collaboration between non-governmental organizations, science and industry will make these initiatives even more efficient.”
After participating in the successful launch event, Neeraj Mistry left feeling confident that the newly-formed German Network is well-poised to further advocate for NTD efforts around the world.
Germany is now the second European country to form a coalition dedicated to controlling and eliminating NTDs — following the footsteps of the UK Coalition against Neglected Tropical Diseases. Established in 2011, the UK Coalition has been hard at work raising awareness primarily among UK policy makers, urging for greater cross-sectoral integration of NTD programs with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and education initiatives and increased funding and better coordination for existing NTD control efforts. Thanks to the efforts of the UK Coalition and others, NTDs are now seen as a key barrier to attaining the existing Millennium Development Goals and successfully alleviating poverty within the most marginalized communities.
Both the German and UK coalitions are also crucial partners in advocating for the inclusion of NTDs in the post-2015 development agenda. The impact of NTDs stretches across multiple development sectors, including WASH, nutrition, and maternal and child health. Therefore, long-term sustainable development, poverty reduction and improved health outcomes cannot be successfully achieved without simultaneously addressing NTDs. The NGO, academic and private sector representatives involved in both the German Network and UK NTD Coalition have a unique opportunity to help ensure NTDs remain on the world’s development agenda.
The Global Network congratulates the German NTD Network for its successful launch this fall, and looks forward to its continued progress in advocating for the control and elimination of NTDs. For more information about the German Networks, you may visit their website here.