The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (Global Network) urges G20 nations in St. Petersburg, Russia to recognize that tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) will expedite the achievement of their collective economic and development goals.

NTDs are the most prevalent diseases affecting the world’s poor, plaguing one in six people worldwide, including more than 500 million children.  These debilitating parasitic and bacterial infections not only cause malnutrition, pain and blindness, they also cause major reductions in worker productivity, children’s education and increase social stigma.

Few health interventions can rival the positive impact of NTD control.  Treating hookworm alone in children can result in a 43 percent increase in future wage earnings.

NTD control also is an amplifier for many other development investments – complementing education, nutrition, and water and sanitation efforts.  And the availability of safe medicines that can be administered by non-medical staff makes NTD treatments one of the most accessible health interventions today.

Because of drug donations from pharmaceutical companies, we are able to treat one person against the seven most common NTDs –three soil-transmitted helminthes, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma and onchocerciasis.  This makes NTD programs one of the best buys in public health today.

Only by increasing investment in NTDs and integrating NTD control and treatment efforts with other economic, health, nutrition and education policies will the G20 initiatives realize sustainable, attainable outcomes.

The G20 has an exceptional opportunity to elevate NTDs in its poverty-reduction agenda and help make them a plague of the past.  Governments, philanthropists, development agencies, companies and a host of other players are joining together to prioritize NTDs as one of the top global health priorities.  We can see the end of NTDs as a public health threat in endemic countries, not in a span of time that is measured by decades, but within this decade.

The Global Network calls on G20 leaders to promote a comprehensive and collaborative approach that builds on past global commitments to reduce the burden of NTDs and their detrimental economic impact. 

By leveraging their resources and global influence, G20 nations can lead efforts to alleviate the suffering of the world’s most impoverished and marginalized people. 

About the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases  is an advocacy initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute that works in partnership with international agencies, governments, academic institutions, corporations, non-governmental development organizations and the general public to raise the awareness, political will and funding necessary to control and eliminate the seven most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020.

About the Sabin Vaccine Institute

The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Since its founding in 1993 in honor of Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the developer of the oral polio vaccine, Sabin has been at the forefront of global efforts to eliminate, prevent and cure infectious and neglected tropical diseases.

Sabin develops new vaccines, advocates for increased use of existing vaccines and promotes expanded access to affordable medical treatments in collaboration with governments, academic institutions, scientists, medical professionals and other non-profit organizations. For more information, please visit www.sabin.org.

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