The Global Network’s special envoys for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are using their political voice and technical expertise to get NTDs on the United Nation’s global development agenda to end poverty.
Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen, former president of Guatemala; John A. Kufuor, former president of Ghana; Ricardo Lagos Escobar, former president of Chile; and Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, director of the Pan American Health Association, emphasized the need to include NTDs in the United Nations post-2015 development framework in a letter sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Together they write:
“The plain fact is that the control and elimination of NTDs is crucial to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and deserves explicit mention in the final framework of the post-2015 development agenda.”
The envoys also emphasize the severe and negative impacts NTDs have on some of the most marginalized communities worldwide.
“As you may know, poverty reduction and the elimination of NTDs go hand-in-hand. NTDs afflict 1.4 billion people worldwide, including more than 500 million children. They cause blindness, massive swelling in appendages and limbs, severe malnutrition, and anemia. They are a leading cause of pregnancy complications among women and are a key source of poverty, reducing school attendance and learning capabilities among children and worker productivity for adults. “
The special envoys also recognize NTD treatment as one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce poverty.
“For a cost of approximately USD 50 cents per person per year, effective treatment for the seven most common NTDs can be administered, making NTD control programs one of the most cost-effective interventions available in global health today.”
This important letter adds to the momentum generated by the London Declaration, where leaders from pharmaceutical companies, the U.S, UK and United Arab Emirates, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, and other global health organizations announced their support for eliminating 10 NTDs by 2020. Since the declaration, governments and international institutions have been recognizing the need for increased NTD funding, awareness and political will.
To read the full letter, click here.
To send your own message to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, click here.