By Mawish Raza
In light of the one year anniversary of The London Declaration, a series of events took place in London this week that that continued to highlight the important role neglected tropical disease (NTD) control and elimination plays on the global health and development agenda.
Dr. Neeraj Mistry, managing director of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, addressed The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG) on Tuesday. Dr. Mistry discussed the progress since the initial launch of the London Declaration and emphasized the role of integrated treatment approaches in order to help meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target to control and eliminate the most common NTDs by 2020.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also announced a new partnership with the Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum to launch the London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research this week. The center will provide researchers with tools to raise further awareness and solutions to investigating NTD control, mapping and diagnosis.
The launch of the Centre featured a panel discussion, chaired by Sabin Vaccine Institute Board of Trustees member, The Rt. Honorable Baroness Helene Hayman, GBE. The panel was followed by a debate in the House of Lords about the path forward for NTD control and elimination.
During the events, Baroness Hayman highlighted the significance of public-private partnerships, including the generous donations by several leading pharmaceutical companies that allowed for over 1 billion NTD treatments to people in endemic countries.
She also discussed the relationship between high economic burdens in NTD exploited regions by citing a recently published report by Hudson Institute and the Global Network, which concluded that NTD control and elimination efforts are among the most cost-effective public health interventions available.
Baroness Hayman stressed the need for expansion in NTD research and development (R&D) initiatives, while commending the significant achievements in NTD R&D, spearheaded by Sabin president, Dr. Peter Hotez and many others.