The history of the neglected tropical disease movement

28 Jan 2021
David H Molyneux, Anarfi Asamoa-Bah, Alan Fenwick, Lorenzo Savioli, Peter Hotez

The history of the neglected tropical disease movement is seen through the lens of authors who worked during the last 4 decades in different roles and in different settings, from Western-based laboratories to clinical roles in endemic countries and in critical policy roles in the World Health Organization (WHO). The authors seek to identify key players from the introduction of the word ‘neglected’ by the late Kenneth Warren in his Rockefeller Foundation–supported Great Neglected Diseases of Mankind movement through to the more recent developments after the London Declaration of 2012. The role of the various actors—endemic countries, major pharmaceutical companies, the WHO, non-government development organizations, bilateral donors and academia—are discussed. The critical events and decisions are highlighted that were essential enabling factors in creating a viable and successful movement and with a resultant massive global public health and antipoverty impact. The importance of advocacy is emphasized in creating the momentum to establish a globally recognized public health ‘brand’ as a target in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.