Policy & Global Development, Chagas

Allies Pledge to Leave No One Behind in the Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases

The Global Chagas Disease Coalition underscores the urgent need to expand access to treatment for this disease

25.04.2017

Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases hosted the NTD Summit last week to mark the fifth anniversary of the London Declaration, signed in 2012 by donors, foundations, pharmaceutical companies and global partners to support and accelerate the elimination and eradication of various neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020. This gathering, held in Geneva, Switzerland, concluded with a commitment to “leave no one behind” in the fight against these diseases.

On the day before the summit, the World Health Organisation (WHO) hosted the Global Partners Meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases. This event featured the presentation of the Fourth WHO Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases, which highlights a number of milestones achieved in the fight against NTDs while acknowledging that more than a billion people are still affected by these diseases.New commitments by various donors and governments were also announced: the Brazilian pharmaceutical company EMS pledged to donate enough doses of azithromycin to eradicate yaws; the British government agreed to double its budget for NTDs over the next five years; and Bill Gates announced a donation of more than €300 million.

Greater Access to Chagas Treatment Urgently Needed

At the summit, it was clear that some diseases—such as Chagas disease—have yet to receive the sort of injection of resources that could speed up efforts to expand access to diagnosis and treatment. At present, less than 1% of people with Chagas disease are receiving the treatment they need.

The Global Chagas Disease Coalition organised two work sessions that brought together experts and representatives of partners and patients. At these sessions, the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) presented its model for comprehensive care in Bolivia and Barcelona as well as its ongoing research on biomarkers. After the work sessions, Silvia Moriana, Coordinator of the Global Chagas Disease Coalition, announced that the participants had agreed on a new item to be added to the list of NTD priorities.“There is an urgent need for greater access to treatment of Chagas disease and stronger leadership on the part of the governments of affected countries,” she commented.“Joint efforts by all the stakeholders could achieve the integration of Chagas care into national health systems.”

At the end of the summit, representatives of the fight against all ten diseases prioritised by Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases signed the Geneva Commitment, which calls for support and resources for elimination efforts, intersectoral collaboration, and efforts to strengthen health systems in affected countries.