Gates Annual Letter and NTDs

Bill and Melinda Gates' Annual Letter bets on breakthroughs within the next 15 years, prioritizing the elimination of several NTDs.

22 January 2015

Today’s release of the Bill and Melinda Gates Annual Letter includes a call to action for the international development community to prioritise neglected tropical diseases and commit to ending four diseases – guinea worm, elephantiasis, river blindness and blinding trachoma - by 2030. The letter mentions the important role of maps in strategic drug delivery, by showing where diseases are more prevalent.

Among other breakthroughs in health within the next 15 years, Bill and Melinda cite strides in malaria diagnostics and control and increases in numbers of people treated for HIV. 

The letter cites breakthroughs in four fields:

Health: Child deaths will go down, and more diseases will be wiped out

Farming: Africa will be able to feed itself

Banking: Mobile banking will help the poor tranform their lives

Education: Better software will revolutionise learning

Full text mentioning NTDs:

"Wiping polio and three other diseases off the face of the earth. Destroying a disease utterly is a very difficult thing to do — so difficult, in fact, that it's happened only once in history, when smallpox was eradicated in 1980. But if we keep working hard, we can eradicate four diseases by 2030. We can get polio out of Africa this year and out of every country in the world in the next several years. Guinea worm, an incredibly painful disease whose sufferers spend months incapacitated while worms that can be several feet long burst out of their legs, will also be gone soon, thanks in large part to the leadership of President Jimmy Carter and the Carter Center. We'll also see the last of diseases like elephantiasis, river blindness, and blinding trachoma, which disable tens of millions of people in poor countries. The drugs that can stop these scourges are now being donated in huge numbers by pharmaceutical companies, and they're being used more strategically thanks to advances in digital maps that show where diseases are most prevalent. Last year these free medicines were distributed to 800 million people."

Read the full letter