WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 13, 2013 – Last week, the Organization of American States (OAS), the main political and social governmental forum for nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, approved a resolution supporting the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) during the 43rd General Assembly in Antigua, Guatemala.

Ambassador Hubert J. Charles, Permanent Representative of Dominica to OAS, presented a resolution to endorse the Pan American Health Organization’s 2009 resolution, “Elimination of Neglected Diseases and Other Poverty-Related Infections.” While not every Member State has NTDs, there was broad agreement that the OAS resolution would add value to existing efforts and renew a collective commitment to significantly reduce the prevalence of these diseases in the region by 2015. Fifteen countries co-sponsored the resolution and it received approval from the majority of the 35 independent states represented in the OAS.

Dr. Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, issued the following statement applauding the OAS for their leadership in the fight against NTDs:

We applaud the Organization of American States for its recognition of the important goal of reducing the burden of infectious and neglected tropical diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean.

These diseases continue to perpetuate the cycle of poverty, often holding back marginalized communities. Though the region has made significant progress towards NTD control and elimination, more work still needs to be done to alleviate the suffering of the 100 million people currently infected in this region.  This resolution aligns with the OAS’ core mission to reduce poverty among its Member States. Success in eliminating these diseases will bolster the region’s ongoing efforts to improve health systems, equity and economic development.

We expect this new political endorsement to stimulate interest, action and the necessary resources to meet the targets outlined by the Pan American Health Organization as we approach the 2015 deadline for a number of NTD elimination goals.

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