Partnerships, Cooperation Key To Eliminating NTDs

The announcement at the end of January of the largest coordinated effort to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) provides “more reason to hope that we may soon see a future free of these diseases,” Adetokunbo Lucas, former director of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, writes in a Daily Monitor opinion piece. “This new coordinated action will take these previous efforts to a whole new level,” he writes, adding, “Together, these partners have pledged to increase the supply of existing drugs and invest and collaborate on research to accelerate the development of new and better drugs.” 

“Innovative partnerships such as this — that partner the resources of private-sector players with those of public-sector health programs, governments, and aid organizations — have the potential to make immense progress against these diseases where individual efforts or bilateral partnerships are not enough,” he continues, but adds that “[t]o ensure these commitments make a public health impact, it is essential that NTD-endemic countries, like Uganda, work to ensure that the newly available medications can be effectively delivered to those who need them.” Adetokunbo concludes, “With this new innovative partnership, I see a light at the end of the tunnel” (2/10).