In January 2012, leaders from 13 pharmaceutical companies, the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank and other global health organizations gathered to sign the London Declaration on NTDs, pledging new and extended commitments in support of the WHO’s goal to control or eliminate 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020.

The London Declaration signified a turning point in global efforts to control and eliminate the most common NTDs; since then, the global health community has rallied together to chart a new course towards a world free from NTDs.

Pledging to sustain and expand drug donation initiatives for NTDs, pharmaceutical companies have donated more than 5 billion treatments since the launch of the London Declaration – making it the world’s largest public health drug donation program.

More people at-risk of NTD infection are being treated than ever before. However, only 50 percent of those who treatment for at least one NTD are receiving the medications they need. Onchoceriacis was eliminated in Colombia Ecuador, and Mexico as was trachoma in Oman. Similar strides have been made against lymphatic filariasis, with 18 endemic countries now able to stop mass drug administration. But coverage is not increasing rapidly enough to reach all targets.

In December 2014, 26 countries met to sign the Addis Ababa Commitment on NTDs, agreeing to scale up domestic ownership of NTD efforts. Countries such as Bangladesh, Honduras and the Philippines have mobilized significant domestic resources to support their NTD programs. For example, of the entirety of the Philippines’ NTD program budget, an impressive 94 percent now comes from domestic funding sources. Such leadership has led to a growing number of endemic countries reaching their elimination goals.

Meeting the WHO Roadmap targets could also lead to economic gains of more than $565 billion — in productivity gains alone. The return for investment for each dollar spent on NTD control and elimination would be between $51 and $184 for NTDs controlled through mass drug administration.

Despite this progress, there is still much work to be done to reach the WHO’s 2020 control and elimination goals. The Global Network will continue to urge national governments and other partners to come together to help close the annual global funding gap of US $220 million to help national NTD plans scale up.

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