NEWS: APPMG Report Calls for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases26 November 2009
London 26 November 2009
: A new report launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG)
highlights the tragic burden of some of the world’s most debilitating and neglected tropical diseases (NDTs) and calls for concerted action from the international community to help control and ultimately eliminate them.
The Neglected Tropical Diseases: A challenge we could rise to – will we?
was authored by Professor Alan Fenwick,
Director of the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative
at London’s Imperial College. NTDs are a diverse group of infections which tend to affect the poorest of the poor with most drugs remaining unaffordable. The report does not shrink from documenting the horrific and tragic consequences of these infections.
Schistosomiasis, for example, is the second most socioeconomically devastating parasitic disease after malaria. It infects 200 million people, mostly children, yet less than 10% of them are currently treated. Yet according to the report, there are already many effective drugs that can be used to control and treat schistosomiasis and other NTDs, costing approximately 50 pence per person per year.
“I commend this report and its recommendations to all those who, with us, are willing to learn about infections which are common in the developing world but which are often new to us
,” comments APPMG chairman, Stephen O'Brien MP, in the report foreword. “To achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), NTDs will need to be controlled, and that control to be sustainable. If this can be achieved, a heavy burden on vulnerable economies will be removed.”
Some of the key conclusions and recommendations of the report are:
- For the first group of NTDs in the report a cheap rapid impact package of drugs can be delivered annually at minimal cost and could easily control or eliminate the suffering of up to a billion individuals (the estimated cost is about $200 million per annum for 5-7 years).
- For some diseases new drugs are needed so further research and development should be funded.
- Endemic and neighbouring countries should increase awareness about Buruli ulcer and put up effective surveillance and reporting systems.
- Efforts to eradicate guinea worm from the last few affected countries should be supported.
- Without something being done for the NTDs, the MDGs will not be attainable.
The APPMG was created in 2004 to raise awareness of the scourge of malaria world-wide and particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. It expanded its remit to include NTDs in 2008 and since then has played a major role in raising the awareness of these diseases through its meetings and now in the first report on this subject.
Notes to editors:
The report is available to download here and also at http://www.appmg-malaria.org.uk/publications/