On June 11, 2014, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives to support the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the United States and abroad. H.R. 4847, the “End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act,” calls for the expansion of USAID’s NTD program; increased U.S. Government advocacy for NTDs among international development and financing institutions; reporting from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on NTDs in the United States; the creation of one or more NTD centers of excellence to increase research and development (R&D); and the establishment of a panel on intestinal worm infections, one of the most pervasive NTDs.

Cosponsors include Congressmen Hank Johnson (D-GA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ).

Sabin Vaccine Institute President, Dr. Peter Hotez:

“This bill offers real promise for the more than one billion impoverished people worldwide – including U.S. citizens – currently suffering unnecessarily from NTDs. Even with medicines already available to protect against the most common NTDs, and groundbreaking R&D initiatives underway, greater prioritization for treatment delivery, scientific discovery and other cost-effective investments are necessary to defeat these devastating diseases once and for all. I applaud Congressman Chris Smith’s leadership in raising the profile of NTDs, spotlighting neglected populations and championing the necessary actions to close the remaining gaps through this legislation. I urge other Congressional leaders, global policymakers and private partners to offer their support for this historic effort by joining the fight against some of today’s most pernicious diseases.”

Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Managing Director Dr. Neeraj Mistry:

“The U.S. government has been instrumental in supporting the elimination of NTDs through USAID’s NTD Program and its engagement in the landmark public-private partnership known as the London Declaration on NTDs. This bill reaffirms the U.S. commitment to controlling and eliminating NTDs through an evidence-based approach to build up capacity in endemic countries and increase investment effectiveness through better coordination and integration with other development sectors, such as those focusing on safe water, nutrition, and maternal and child health. By closing the key funding gaps for treatment and R&D outlined in this bill, we can achieve major NTD control and elimination targets globally by the end of this decade and thus help usher in widespread socio-economic growth. Government, pharmaceutical, corporate and non-profit partners worldwide must continue working together to achieve the London Declaration objectives.”   

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