WASHINGTON, DC--The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases announced today that it is partnering with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to launch a major effort to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) plaguing more than 200 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean. To help launch this effort, the Global Network provided a $2.5 million grant to establish a financing mechanism that will immediately begin supporting NTD programs in the region.

“We are proud to be part of this extraordinary partnership to help control and eventually eliminate some of these devastating diseases from the region,” said Kari Stoever, Managing Director of the Global Network. “This new partnership is the first milestone reached in developing Regional Funds under the generous Gates Foundation grant awarded to the Global Network to foster collaboration to defeat neglected tropical diseases. It also is a concrete example of how organizations and governments can work together to support new investments to reach control and elimination goals under President Obama’s Global Health Initiative.”

The new Regional Fund will support measures to control and eliminate NTDs, the most common infections of more than 200 million of the poorest people in the Latin American and Caribbean region. They include tens of millions of cases of intestinal worm infections, such as whipworm, large common roundworm, and hookworm, and almost 10 million cases of Chagas disease, as well as schistosomiasis, trachoma, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis (LF), and onchocerciasis.

NTDs produce extreme poverty through their impact on children’s physical and cognitive development, pregnancy outcome and worker productivity. However, with a firm commitment from the public and private sectors, it is possible to eliminate onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis and trachoma throughout the region as well as schistosomiasis in the Caribbean.

Ultimately, the roadmap for the control and elimination of the more widespread NTDs will require an inter-sectoral approach that bridges public health, social services, and environmental interventions. The IDB has been a leader in championing this approach through its efforts to create new linkages between water and sanitation projects and public health programs.

About Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases:
The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, at the Sabin Vaccine Institute, is committed to raising the profile of neglected tropical diseases and leveraging international resources to end suffering and death through effective, low-cost treatments.

About Sabin Vaccine Institute:
Sabin Vaccine Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing human suffering from infectious and neglected diseases. Through its efforts in vaccine research, development and advocacy, Sabin works to provide greater access to vaccines and essential medicines for millions stuck in pain, poverty and despair. Founded in 1993 in honor of Dr. Albert B. Sabin, discoverer of the oral polio vaccine, the Sabin Vaccine Institute works with prestigious institutions, scientists, medical professionals, and organizations to provide short and long-term solutions that result in healthier individuals, families and communities around the globe. For more information about Sabin’s research and commitment, visit: www.sabin.org.

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