On 30th January 2013, a debate on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) was held in the House of Lords in the UK. Following a parliamentary question from Baroness Hayman to inquire what progress has been made in combating NTDs by DFID since the signing of the London declaration on NTDs, a lively debate followed.
The contributors came from many different backgrounds, including the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health Chair, Lord Crisp, and Department for International Development (DFID) House of Lords Spokesperson, Baroness Northover. The key themes to come from the debate included DFID’s commitment to tackling many of these diseases and helping the people who are most vulnerable to them.
The collaborative approach from the NTD community was also widely lauded by peers.
The work of the UK Coalition Against NTDs (of which Malaria Consortium is a member) was recognised by Baroness Northover as an example of “a collaborative partnership in research, implementation and capacity building“. She went onto say that the Coalition “is at the forefront of the push for integration, especially at the country level with national and other developmental partners”.
The same evening also marked the opening of the London Centre for NTD Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which is another indication of the growing focus on NTDs.
Acting Chief Executive of Malaria Consortium, Dr Sylvia Meek said:
“Last night in the House of Lords, we saw an unprecedented response to Baroness Hayman’s parliamentary question on combating neglected tropical diseases with 11 peers raising key points on the issue.
“On the first anniversary of the London Declaration on NTDs, I was delighted to hear that Baroness Northover reaffirmed DFID’s commitment to reach more than 140 million people who suffer from NTDs by 2015. Coupled with the launch of the London Centre for NTD Research and the continued excellent work of the UK Coalition Against NTDs, I feel there is real momentum in the efforts to combat NTDs. It is crucial now, more than ever, that the NTD community continues to work together so further progress can be made towards eliminating 10 of these diseases by 2020.
“There is also a great need to address the annual funding gap of almost US$300 million which is preventing key elements of elimination programmes from being brought to scale.”
Read our article "12 NTDs everyone should know" on the Guardian Hub on malaria and infectious diseases.
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