Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are the most common diseases of the world's poor. These 17 parasitic and bacterial infections infect more than one billion people around the world. Without treatment, NTDs can lead to malnutrition, blindness, severe physical disabilities and even death. Controlling and eliminating NTDs is critical to ending extreme poverty. Much of the medication to treat the most common NTDs is donated by pharmaceutical companies, making NTD treatment one of the world’s most cost-effective health interventions. 

In 2006, Sabin co-founded the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases to raise the awareness, political will and funding necessary to control and eliminate the most common NTDs. Over the next decade, the Global Network played a key role in building the political support, public awareness, and funding required to prioritize the most common NTDs on the global health agenda and progress toward control and elimination of these diseases. The Global Network mobilized more than $165 million of new resources for NTD programs and leveraged approximately $1.53 billion in indirect benefits to affected populations.

The Global Network engaged foreign governments, international organizations and multilateral policy platforms to increase support for NTD treatment; expanded or developed NTD coalitions in key donor countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany; led national and state-level advocacy efforts in India and Nigeria, two countries with the world’s highest NTD burden; achieved breakthrough regional resolutions to control and eliminate NTDs and built the case for integrating NTDs into other health and development efforts. Through innovative approaches like the establishment of our NTD Special Envoy Program and launch of the award-winning END7 campaign, the Global Network brought new partners into the NTD effort and built a strong foundation of global support for control and elimination activities.

Over the past decade, these neglected diseases have been added to the global agenda for sustainable development, driving a remarkable expansion of treatment and prevention programs in some of the world’s poorest communities. The founding vision of the Global Network – a world free of NTDs where all people are able to grow, learn and become productive members of their communities – is now within reach.

Sabin is proud of the achievements of the Global Network, which concluded operations in 2016. A strong network of global health organizations are well positioned to carry NTD control and elimination efforts forward. Sabin’s commitment to preventing needless human suffering continues as we focus on making life-saving vaccines more accessible and expanding immunization across the globe.