Don’t lose sight of neglected tropical diseases because of the Ebola controversy
– German Network warns against concentrating aid on one disease
Berlin, January 30, 2015. The agenda for the upcoming G7 summit meeting at Schloß Elmau in June includes neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and poverty-related diseases such as Ebola. In a letter to public, business and social policymakers, the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases (DNTDs) warns against a one-sided concentration on combating Ebola. This kind of narrow focus will not meet the health care needs in the affected countries. As a result, efforts to fight many other diseases that are already neglected would fall even further behind. More people die because of Ebola than from Ebola.
Neglected tropical diseases endanger, infect or permanently disable more than a billion people worldwide. Around 500,000 people die each year as a consequence. Children are robbed of their chance to develop, maternal mortality among infected women increases and adults are rendered unable to work. The disease burden due to NTDs is comparable with that of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Despite this, the German public has so far hardly taken notice of these diseases.
Better utilize synergies in fighting and preventing NTDs and Ebola
The German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases (DNTDs) is asking to the German government to
- Systematically strengthen the local medical structures and make them affordable as well as accessible for all people, without barriers.
- Support and expand the existing program to combat NTDs.
- Utilize existing NTD structures and capacities to combat Ebola.
- Support basic research for new medical interventions, especially in the area of NTDs.
- Expand and intensify government support for development programs for new vaccines, medicines and other interventions to combat NTDs.
- Eliminate implementation bottlenecks in the use of existing health care measures.
- Integrate elements to promote health in all development programs.
In another statement addressed to German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others, DNTDs emphasized that successful national programs to combat NTDs should be expanded further and also used to combat Ebola. In this position paper, DNTDs also advanced for discussion the idea of including neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) within the mandate of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), and of intensifying research and development of measures to fight neglected tropical diseases.
There will be an opportunity on February 3–4, 2015, for background discussions with board members from the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases (DNTDs), who will be in Berlin for meetings in the Federal Chancellery and the German Bundestag:
Prof. Dr. Jürgen May, Chairman of the Board of DNTDs and Head of the Working Group on Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine.
Prof. Dr. KH Martin Kollmann, Head of the Expert Advisory Group for Neglected Tropical Diseases at the Christoffel Mission for the Blind (CBM). Prof. Kollmann is a specialist in ophthalmology who teaches at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
Please address any questions you might have to the DNTDs coordination office:
Telephone: +49 (0)30 236246 03, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please find the attached/enclosed letter to the German Chancellor and the position paper on combating Ebola. More information can be found at our website: www.dntds.de
The German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases (DNTDs) constitutes a national platform that works together with international partners to intensify the fight against poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The German network is allied with the London Declaration on NTDs and works to support the World Health Organization (WHO) and programs in the affected countries in efforts to bring at least ten of the total 17 NTDs under control by the end of this decade.