quinta-feira, 31 de janeiro de 2013
Neglected tropical diseases: progress and priorities
This January marks the first anniversary of the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases—a coordinated effort by endemic countries, non-governmental organisations, drug companies, and donors to improve the lives of more than a billion of the world's poorest people by the end of the decade. A year on from the launch, the results look promising.
Pharmaceutical partners involved with the initiative have supplied 1·12 billion treatments, Oman became the first previously endemic country to verify the elimination of trachoma, and more than 40 countries have since developed long-term plans to tackle neglected tropical diseases. The progress achieved represents what can be done if a concerted international effort is made—eg, the strides towards the elimination of guinea worm and yaws. However, the fight is far from over. WHO reports that dengue is now the world's fastest spreading tropical disease and “represents a pandemic threat”.
WHO issued its first report on the burden of neglected tropical diseases in 2010—a roadmap for control, elimination, or eradication—including drug and vaccine development. In April, 2012, the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development (R&D) recommended a framework for sustainable financing and coordination implemented through a legally binding convention. However, this week WHO's Executive Board has been asked to endorse a less ambitious plan by member states for a more vaguely defined WHO Observatory on Global Health R&D, which is weak on concrete action despite international consensus that the current R&D model needs revision. The 2013 World Health Assembly should be more ambitious and put back on the agenda the proposal for new global rules to secure sustained financing mechanisms for essential health R&D. The future elimination and eradication of neglected tropical diseases depends on it.