2017 NTD Summit in Geneva Wraps Up

The recent Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Summit, held in Geneva April 18-22, discussed progress made on NTDs since the 2012 London Declaration. The declaration is a commitment of several governments, foundations, nonprofits and private sector companies toward the goal of controlling or eliminating at least 10 NTDs by 2020.

Source: Uniting to Combat NTDs

NTDS affect an estimated 1.6 billion people, more than half a billion of which are children. The 17 diseases, which include elephantiasis (lymphatic filariasis), river blindness (onchocerciasis) and sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), were identified as neglected tropical diseases in 2005. NTDs are found in 149 countries and kill approximately 534,000 people every year.

Since the London Declaration, there has been a 20 percent reduction in people at risk for NTDs, according to the World Health Organization. Nearly 1 billion people received treatment for at least one NTD in 2015, a 36 percent increase since 2011. Pharmaceutical companies donated much of the treatments used.

The summit kicked off with a Global Partners meeting. During that meeting, hundreds of millions of funding from the British and Belgian governments and Bill and Melinda Gates foundation was confirmed, as well as additional funding and other resource commitments. The UK government announced $256 million prior to the summit, and the Gates Foundation committed a further $335 million in grants over the next four years. The World Health Organization estimates $750 million a year would be needed to address NTDs up to 2020, after which $460 million a year would be needed to maintain progress from 2020 to 2030.

Five key public health approaches to progress on NTDs were identified at the summit:

  • Innovative and intensive disease management
  • Preventative chemotherapy
  • Vector ecology and management
  • Veterinary public health services
  • Provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene

Significant progress made on Guinea worm disease and lymphatic filariasis was also highlighted at the summit. Guinea worm disease has dropped from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986 to just 25 human cases in three countries – Chad, Ethiopia and Sudan in 2016. Lymphatic filariasis has been eliminated in eight countries, with an additional ten countries waiting on confirmation of disease elimination.

PQMD is proud to have nine corporate members as official endorsers of the London Declaration, with many NGO partners who actively support the ongoing efforts to treat and end NTDs.