The rationale for the LCNTDR
The Centre’s launch on the 30th January 2013 marked the 1st anniversary of the 2012 London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, during which governments, donors, development agencies, pharmaceutical companies and academics agreed to renew their efforts to control – and where possible, eliminate – NTDs before 2020. As part of this declaration, leading pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson reconfirmed their support through extensive drug donations for the treatment and control of NTDS. These, collaborative efforts among public and private sector organizations have produced major successes against NTDs, a group of 17 diseases that sicken, disable, disfigure and otherwise affect more than one billion people in 123 countries, disproportionately impacting those living in poverty.
2012 was a pivotal year for the fight against NTDs because:
- The world’s leading pharmaceutical companies provided 1.12 billion treatments for NTDs, an increase of 150 million treatments from 2011. These commitments fully meet the increased requests from endemic country partners and remove a key bottleneck to the successful treatment and prevention of NTDs.
- Twenty-nine countries began receiving drugs to treat or prevent soil-transmitted helminthes, increasing treatments provided from 46 million in 2011 to 238 million in 2012.
- Donors committed funds to support integrated NTD programs, scale up and expand existing programs, increase funding available for mapping, improve program strategies through research, and develop new tools.
- A number of countries launched new integrated NTD programs, which allow national governments to align objectives, pool resources and, ultimately, combat NTDs more effectively. Many countries have launched new or expanded mass drug administration (MDA) plans.
- Two NTD diagnostic tests received regulatory approval: the first ever lateral flow test for sleeping sickness was commercially launched in December, and a new rapid diagnostic test for lymphatic filariasis will be commercially available soon.
In February 2015, the World Health Organization further encouraged financial support of the fight against NTDs with the launch of its 3rd Report on NTDs. Entitled "Investing to Overcome the Global Impact of NTDs," this report outlines the importance of increased investment particularly from middle-income countries with very high NTD burden.
Research and Innovation into Operational Action
As we have seen incredible advances in the areas of advocacy, funding, and drug donation over the last few years, NTDs are less neglected than ever before. Tools are available for NTD control, and the goal of eliminating them as a public health problem is becoming more feasible.
The LCNTDR plays a very important role by meeting the pressing need for evidence-based research to ensure that collaborations and drug donations are used in the most effective way, and that investments have the maximum impact on the health of infected people.