Great strides have been made in the battle against Neglected Tropical Diseases but more needs to be done for the 1 in 5 people whose lives are still blighted by these diseases.
This is one of the key messages of the 2014-2015 Report for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, launched at a special meeting in the UK Houses of Parliamentary on Tuesday 24 February.
The report outlines the advances that have been made over the last 12 months to control and eliminate diseases which affect 1.4 billion of the world’s poorest people through mortality, morbidity, disability and stigma.
NTDs are a key barrier to attainment of global development goals and poverty reduction.
Jeremy Lefroy MP, Chairman of the APPG, comments: "Ebola has shone a spotlight on the importance of building health systems to address challenges such as insufficient numbers of qualified health workers and inadequate surveillance and information systems equipped to respond rapidly to new and existing health challenges. Neglected Tropical Diseases affect the world’s poorest communities. They must remain a global health priority post-2015."
The Coalition makes eight recommendations. The report encourages the UK Government to:
• maintain its financial commitment to NTD programmes
• ensure that the Department for International Development (DFID) disability framework and forthcoming health system framework support a response to NTDs
• ensure that DFID supports country governments to equip their health systems to deliver essential NTD interventions
• support the full range of research and development for NTDs
• promote a cross-sectoral NTD response
• promote the partnership model exemplified by the NTD response
• continue to champion international investments for NTDs by supporting the inclusion of NTDs in the Sustainable Development Goals
• highlight the successes achieved with UK government investment and urge other governments and institutions to contribute more to the fight against NTDs
Good, competent, transparent government, specialist expertise and more health workers are all necessary ingredients to combat NTDs.
Helen Hamilton, Chair of the Coalition, said:
"In the last five years of this Parliament much progress has been made. Due to the commitment of the government the UK is a world leader in fighting these devastating diseases. But we need to maintain and increase this investment if we are to achieve the international community's 2020 target of eliminating and controlling these terrible diseases."
The UK Coalition against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) is a collaborative partnership between UK organisations actively engaged in NTD research and implementation and in advocating for effective sustainable NTD control programmes.