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GATES FOUNDATION: Disease elimination

31/01/2012 by Alan Cole in the UK

Bill Gates and partners announce visionary approach to defeat ten tropical diseases

A massive concentrated effort based on appropriate research and clear goals hopes to transform the lives of millions of people suffering from the most horrible tropical diseases…

A major coalition from the private and public sector is assembling to tackle ten of the worst tropical diseases, potentially transforming millions of lives in the process.

The coalition led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and including 13 pharmaceutical companies, the World Bank and major health organisations is launching its collaborative effort to beat some of the worst Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) objectives.

The programme is the latest recognition that some of the most significant health and humanitarian problems affecting the developing world can only be tackled by concerted partnerships…

The USA, UK and UAE governments are also involved in the synchronised efforts to speed advancement towards the elimination or control of the ten major NTDs which affect millions of people.

Neglected Tropical Diseases affect more than one billion people including more than 500 million children and disproportionally impact those living in poverty.

However, these diseases can be controlled via affordable existing treatments which have been proven to have a positive impact. For example global Guinea worm cases have reduced from 3.5 million in 1986 to 1,060 in 2011. Cases of other NTDs such as leprosy have also reduced significantly following interventions from WHO and its partners.

The partners have now announced new and extended collaborative commitments to control or eliminate the ten NTDs by 2020 in line with WHO goals.

The partners are aiming to achieve significant progress toward the elimination of lymphatic filariasis, blinding trachoma, sleeping sickness and leprosy, and control of soil-transmitted diseases such as river blindness by 2020.

NTDs infect one in six people worldwide and their effects are devastating causing blindness, malnutrition, swelling, anaemia, disability, disfigurement as well as social discrimination. They are a major catalyst for women's pregnancy complications and also reduce school attendance for children and worker productivity for adults...

The funding announcements from the coalition includes the Gates Foundation’s five-year $363 million commitment.

Partners will use existing treatments and share expertise and compounds to accelerate research and development of new drugs.

Treatment for NTDs is one of the most cost-effective health programmes available today… As such why shouldn’t NTDs be eliminated? That's the question being asked…

Bill Gates has said that the innovative approach should serve as a model for solving global development challenges in the future.

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Written and edited in London and Geneva All Xperedon news articles are original and are written by the Xperedon news team. The team is headed in the UK by Alan Cole, an experienced award-winning journalist and copywriter. Alan has previously worked in-house for UK publishers, Pearson Media (Financial Times) and Northcliffe Newspapers, among others, and is an accredited member of the National Union of Journalists, UK.

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