Today’s release of the Bill Melinda Gates Annual Letter includes a call to action for the international development community to prioritise neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and commit to ending four diseases – guinea worm, elephantiasis, river blindness and blinding trachoma - by 2030. It also outlines the need to focus on ridding the world of malaria by fine-tuning the tools to eradicate it. More generally, the letter also commits to reduce by half the number of children who die of preventable diseases, such as pneumonia and diarrhoea, before the age of five by 2030.
We are at a pivotal time in the fight to combat many of these diseases, including malaria and NTDs, with the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals at the end of this year. As the letter highlights, we have recently seen a huge scale up of interventions which has resulted in remarkable gains.
However, now is not the time to be complacent. It is important to sustain these efforts otherwise we will see a resurgence in malaria and we will not make eliminating these four NTDs a reality. The Bill Melinda Gates Foundation’s continued support will help to galvanise the international community to build on this progress and meet these ambitious goals.
You can read the full version of the 2015 Gates Annual Letter here.