World Health Organization announced a $350 million initiative as a five-year plan to control seven major tropical diseases in Africa:
Statement by WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan
I warmly welcome the initiative, announced today by United States President George W. Bush, to vastly increase funding for the integrated treatment of seven of the most important neglected tropical diseases: lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, blinding trachoma, onchocerciasis, and three soil-transmitted helminthiases. These are blinding, deforming, and debilitating diseases that affect the poorest of the poor. An intensified attack on these diseases delivers a blow against the poverty of millions of people.
I further welcome the ambition behind this enhanced commitment: to reduce dramatically and eventually control and eliminate diseases that have caused misery and sapped productivity since antiquity. The time is ripe for ambitious initiatives like the one announced today.
WHO and its multiple partners, including USAID, have established a firm foundation for moving forward with unprecedented speed – and the best-yet prospects for success. Highly effective drugs are available, and many are being donated by industry in large quantities. Strategies for integrated delivery have been devised, streamlining operational requirements and reducing costs. Moreover, the drugs are safe and simple to administer and all at-risk populations can be treated – an approach to mass prevention similar to that of childhood immunization. Efforts to increase coverage can begin immediately.
I welcome the challenge, made by President Bush today, for other donors to complement this US commitment of US$ 350 million over five years to treat these diseases.
Hey, even Bush can occasionally do what’s right, so give him the credit for it. Perhaps, with all this attention, we should not be calling these diseases “neglected” any more? Perhaps we should rename our youngest journal?
I hope other sponsors pitch in to complement the Bush offer and raise the fund to $700 mil.