Trachoma Included in Historic "London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases"
LONDON - Last week I had the opportunity to sign the “London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases," an historic pledge by a diverse group of partners to work together to control or eliminate 10 diseases that affect more than a billion people. It was an exciting moment.
The targeted diseases include trachoma, the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. Trachoma brings extraordinary human suffering and economic devastation to tens of millions of people, mostly women and children in poorer countries.
Thirteen pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, which donates Zithromax® to treat and prevent blinding trachoma, support this innovative initiative, which was announced in London at an event organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Partners who signed on include U.S. and British government agencies, the World Bank and officials from NTD endemic countries. Bill Gates and Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization shared the stage with Stephen O’Brien, British Minister for International Development, who said, “The world has come together to end the neglect of these horrific diseases which needlessly disable, blind and kill millions of the world’s poorest.”
It is the largest coordinated effort ever to combat neglected tropical diseases. The government groups and charities alone are committing just over $785 million in new funding.
The project aims to meet the goals of the World Health Organization's roadmap for controlling the diseases by 2020. "These ancient diseases are now being brought to their knees with stunning speed," said Dr. Chan.
“This effort builds on the ongoing work of many partners committed to improving the lives of the 1 billion people affected by NTDs, most of whom are among the world’s poorest,” Pfizer said in a statement. “At Pfizer, we are working to combat NTDs by collaborating on drug development, broadening access to medicines and strengthening health care delivery for underserved people.”
ITI, which manages the distribution of Zithromax®, is also proud to be part of this initiative, as we work toward the elimination of blinding trachoma by 2020. We have the tools. We know what to do. What we need is country leadership, international coordination, logistical and planning support, and adequate funding. With the London Declaration in hand, there is no better time to focus on what is needed to reach this ambitious goal.
You can read about the London Declaration here http://www.unitingtocombatntds.org/
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