January 28, 2011
United Kingdom based journalist Emilie Filou recently published an article on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) featuring interviews with Sabin President Dr. Peter Hotez and Managing Director of the Global Network Dr. Neeraj Mistry. In the piece, Drs. Hotez and Mistry make the case for improving integrated NTD control programs by including NTDs in the mission of The Global Fund, Pepfar or the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative.
Most NTD drug manufacturers have since emulated Merck & Co. Many African countries, however, have struggled with the implementation of large-scale MDAs because of lack of resources and capacity issues. The United States Agency for International Development therefore launched a NTD programme in 2006 designed to support MDA implementation.
In a bid to optimise scarce resources, USAID has encouraged integrated NTD control. But combining MDAs for different diseases has proved tricky: ministries of health across the continent have historically dealt with each NTD separately and the restructuring has taken time. Administering four or five different drugs at the same time also presents logistical challenges and raises the risk of adverse reactions, particularly in individuals with high parasite loads.