Giving Compass' Take:

· Global Health NOW touches on the importance of screening neglected tropical diseases and the critical role it plays in accelerating progress against other diseases.

· How can donors make an impact in this area and support research into neglected tropical diseases? 

· See how neglected tropical diseases are solvable.

It’s the global health world’s ultimate goal: disease elimination.

After the eradication of smallpox in 1979, the global health community set its sights on several other deadly diseases, including polio, TB, and malaria. Comprehensively beating diseases like these is a complex, time-consuming undertaking—Sustainable Development Goal 3 targets 2030 for ending the AIDS, malaria and TB epidemics.

But for a group of neglected diseases, elimination is within reach—thanks in large part to better diagnostics—an “unsung hero” of global health.

On January 30, 2012, donor agencies, pharmaceutical companies, research institutions, NGOs, governments, and other global health stakeholders signed the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, endorsing the WHO “NTD Roadmap” (Accelerating Work to Overcome the Global Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases) and committing to control, eliminate or eradicate 10 diseases by 2020.

As a group, NTDs affect more than 1 billion people—and cost economies billions of dollars—annually. These diseases were historically overlooked, largely because they thrive in conditions of poverty. While the ambitious 2020 targets may not all be reached, the London Declaration gave critical momentum to the fight—spurring increases in funding, advocacy and expertise. 8 years on, the first World NTD Day, January 30, 2020, provides a much-needed boost for NTD control and elimination.

Read the full article about neglected tropical diseases by Catharina Boehme, Joseph Ndung'u, and Madhukar Pai at Global Health NOW.