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Collaboration key to tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases

Friday, 18 January 2013

One year ago, Bill Gates teamed up with governments, research and NGO partners to launch the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) – a multi-million dollar fund to tackle various infectious diseases which affect more than one billion of the world’s poorest people.

Trachoma mapping EthopiaThis week, the UK Coalition against NTDs, a partnership which includes the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, published its report ‘Promises to Progress: The First Annual Report on the London Declaration on NTDs’.

Caroline Harper, Chair of the UK Coalition against NTDs, and Chief Executive of member NGO Sightsavers, said: “Many of the steps forward in the fight against NTDs over the past 12 months are the result of public and private partners working together.  One of the biggest achievements is the development of the London Declaration Scorecard as a new tool to unite all NTD partners. Only by pooling expertise, resources and research can NTD elimination become a reality.”

On 30 January, the School hosts the launch of the London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research, a collaboration with Imperial College London, and The Natural History Museum to facilitate co-ordination of research activities on NTDs including blinding trachoma, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths and leishmaniasis.

Speakers will include Stephen O’Brien, the Prime Minister’s adviser on Africa, Baroness Hayman, Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on NTDs, Dr Lorenzo Savioli, Head of NTDs at the World Health Organization, Prof Sir Roy Anderson of Imperial College London, and Prof Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Simon Brooker, Professor of Epidemiology and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at  the School, said: “Early research laid the foundation for today’s approaches to the control and elimination of NTDs and in recent years, there has been tremendous commitment to ensuring populations affected by NTDs are covered. However, recent progress in control has raised important questions on how best to achieve the goals of NTD control.

“London is home to several leading NTD research groups and the London Centre aims to bring together this expertise to tackle current scientific challenges and so contribute to better NTD control.”

Last year, the UK government announced £195 million funding to support NTD control and elimination, protecting more than 140 million people. This includes the provision of £10.6m to complete the global mapping of blinding trachoma

The UK Coalition against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) is a collaborative partnership between international organisations, based in the UK, actively engaged in the implementation, capacity building and research of neglected tropical disease control at scale. Members include: Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Partnership for Childhood Development (PCD) and Schistosomosiasis Control Initiative (SCI) at Imperial College London, Carter Centre UK, Sightsavers, WaterAid, International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP), ORBIS, The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Developing World Health (DWH), CBM, the London Centre for NTDs and Malaria Consortium.

Image: Bigiltuu Kefeni, 5, from Keta town in the Oromia region of Ethiopia is one of the first of four million people to be examined as part of a massive global project to map and confirm the burden of the blinding disease trachoma Credit: Dominic Nahr/Magnum Photos/Sightsavers

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