The Results are In: U.S. Government Investments in Health
Results released by the U.S. Government (USG) in September reveal that since fiscal year (FY) 2009, more than $50 billion has been invested by the USG in foreign assistance for health, saving millions of lives. In particular, investments in vaccines and the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have significantly benefited some of the world’s most marginalized and vulnerable populations.
In response to the tremendous toll NTDs have on families and communities, USG efforts have targeted seven of the most common NTDs: lymphatic filariasis (LF), trachoma, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and three intestinal worms (hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm). The NTD Program, administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, reaches millions of men, women and children with treatment each year working with Ministries of Health and Education and NGO partners — and their vast and well-established community-based distribution platforms.
The report shows that between FY2008 and FY2013, more than one billion cumulative NTD treatments have been provided to at-risk communities.
“As a result of the successful scale-up of treatment in the countries targeted, 40.7 million people no longer require district-level treatment for blinding trachoma, and 79.5 million people no longer require treatment for lymphatic filariasis. Three countries (Cambodia, Togo and Vietnam) have achieved the target of 60 percent of the population no longer requiring lymphatic filariasis MDA [mass drug administration]and three countries (Ghana, Mali and Nepal) have achieved the target of 70 percent of the population no longer requiring district-level trachoma MDA."
Sabin’s Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases and its END7 campaign have complimented USG efforts in the past. For example, In July 2013, the END7 campaign partnered with Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Helen Keller International (HKI) to help support Sierra Leone’s ongoing work to prevent and treat NTDs. END7 donations, totaling over $27,000, helped fund an MDA in the Western Rural Area of Sierra Leone and supported trainings for community health workers throughout the district. More than 50,000 children were treated for intestinal worms.
Alongside the control and elimination of NTDs, the USG is committed to protecting children across the world from vaccine-preventable diseases. Each year, nearly one million children die from pneumococcal infection and rotavirus infection — two diseases prioritized by Sabin.
Encouragingly, as the report states, “as of June 2014, 40 countries have introduced pneumococcal vaccines and 26 countries have introduced the rotavirus vaccine. By 2015, it is projected that the number will grow to 45 countries introducing PCV and 33 will have introduced the rotavirus vaccine.” This is exciting news on the heels of the Eleventh International Rotavirus Symposium held last week in New Delhi, India on September 3 – 5.
To further advance these USG global health priorities, Sabin also supports research and advocacy efforts to raise awareness about pneumococcal disease and encourages the introduction of pneumococcal vaccines worldwide. In addition, Sabin is working on numerous fronts to address the burden of rotavirus and facilitate the introduction globally of a rotavirus vaccine. Through the Rotavirus Organization of Technical Allies (ROTA) Council, a team of technical experts from around the world, Sabin seeks to provide the scientific and technical evidence that policymakers need to accelerate the introduction of rotavirus vaccines.
To read the full results, click here.