Today, Friday, June 25, 2010 the historic G8 and G20 summit meeting begins in Huntsville, Canada. The G8, held from June 25-26, brings together heads of states from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States to discuss and address critical global challenges in areas such as trade, international development, food security and global health. Leaders from the G20, a summit with a narrower focus on global trade and economic concerns, will immediately follow the G8 in Toronto from June 26-27. Global health is to be a major part of this year’s agenda.
One recent development the global health sector has seen is the new maternal and child health initiative, for more than $1 billion dollars, unveiled by Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, aims to improve the health of women and children (MCH) in the world’s poorest regions. The G8’s Muskoka Report, released earlier this week, provides insight into the progress of the Gleneagle Commitments made by G8 members in 2005 to increase global Organizational Development Assistance (ODA). G8 expenditures in the last five years include assistance to the African Action Plan, billions of dollars in debt cancellation from G8 countries, improvement of market access for goods from Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and as well as major health sector contributions includeing the formation and support of the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Yet, as the G8 and G20 leaders meet to discuss solutions pressing global concerns, 1.4 billion of the world’s poorest, most marginalized people remain in the devastating impacts of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This group of seven disabling, disfiguring and deadly diseases impair physical and cognitive development, cause adverse pregnancy outcomes and limit adult workforce productivity. As a result, the affected communities are anchored into poverty by these endemic parasitic infections.
The Global Network, a major initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, is a partnership dedicated to eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The Global Network applauds leaders of the G8 in their inclusion of NTD, control, and elimination as a major channel of global development.
The Global Network is calling on members of the G8 to:
- Fulfill promises made at the 2009 G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy ensuring that “no poor country with a credible plan for reducing infectious disease and newborn, child and maternal mortality should fail to achieve its objectives because of a lack of donor resources.”
- Ensure that accountability must be an integral and permanent component of both the G8 and G20 process
- Continue to raise the profile of NTDs around the world and encourage G20 members to recognize that addressing global challenges, such as NTDs, are the key to our global future
- End the neglect of neglected tropical diseases