The U.S. Mission’s USAID representative, Kristen Easter, participated in a news conference January 14, 2013 organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch the 2nd Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The WHO report marks a new phase in the prevention, control and elimination of many tropical diseases. Globally more than 1 billion people, approximately half of them children, suffer from one or more painful and debilitating tropical diseases. NTDs impact the poorest people on the planet. They cause severe illness and disability, compromise mental and physical development, contribute to malnutrition, reduce school attendance and hinder economic productivity.
Notable and historic progress to combat NTDs had been made this past year since the publication by WHO of a Road Map and the commitments made almost a year ago in London by public and private partners to control or eliminate 10 of the 17 NTDs. Since the U.S. Congressional earmark of $15 million in 2006 U.S. support has reached the level of $89 million in 2012. Total U.S. support over this period is $301 million. These funds have leveraged over $4 billion in donations from the pharmaceutical industry in support of U.S. programs. The U.S. remains committed to these efforts. USAID programs support country-level platforms and approaches that are consistent with WHO technical guidelines and policies. Since 2006 USAID’s program includes 23 countries, has delivered over 584 milliion treatments to 258 million people and has exceeded targets thus far.
The press conference included Dr. Hiroki Nakatani, Assistant Director-General, WHO, Dr. Lorenzo Savioli, Director, Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, WHO, S.E. Kouadio Adjoumani, Chef Mission de la Représentation Permanente de Côte D’Ivoire auprès des Nations-Unies à Genève, Mr. Mario Ottiglio, Associate Director, Public Affairs & Global Health Policy, IFPMA and Ms. Kristen Easter, Senior Development Advisor/USAID Representative to the UN.