Uniting to Combat NTDs, a partnership of foundations, global health organizations, and pharmaceutical companies, has announced commitments totaling $240 million to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that disproportionately affect the world's most vulnerable populations.
A new commitment of $120 million by a group of the partners of will be used to combat soil-transmitted helminths (STH), intestinal worms that are among the most common cause of infections in poor children. The funding includes commitments of $50 million from the Children's Investment Fund Foundation to provide technical assistance to national deworming programs; $50 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to explore the feasibility of interrupting transmission and mitigating the risks of drug resistance; $8 million over five years from the Buenos Aires-based nonprofit Mundo Sano to test strategies for deworming and develop combination treatments; and $4.5 million from Vitamin Angels to scale deworming with Vitamin A distributions and implementation support.
In addition, Dubai Cares will design programs that integrate nutrition, deworming, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions in schools; WaterAid will deliver WASH programs in NTD-endemic areas; and the World Food Programme will work to ensure deworming interventions are provided as part of school feeding programs.
The World Bank also announced that it is committing $120 million from the International Development Association, its fund for the poorest countries, to support NTD control and elimination programs across Africa, including support for school-based deworming programs.
Spearheaded by the Gates Foundation and launched two years ago to support efforts to meet the World Health Organization's control, elimination, and eradication targets for ten specific NTDs by 2020, the Uniting to Combat NTDs effort also includes the U.S. Agency for International Development, the UK Department for International Development, more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, and a number of nongovernmental organizations. In conjunction with the announcement of the new commitments, the partnership released a report highlighting the progress made over the past two years.
"We're taking the 'neglect' out of neglected tropical diseases, thanks to the commitment of partners from across the public and private sectors," said Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates. "Pharmaceutical companies are providing drugs free of charge, endemic countries are scaling up integrated screen-and-treat programs for multiple diseases, and donors are delivering essential funding. If we stay focused, we can reach the London Declaration's 2020 goals and help provide millions with access to health."