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The international community has pledged through the Sustainable Development Goals to eliminate neglected tropical diseases by 2030.
Authors from 19 institutions around the world call for urgent reflection and a change in mind-set to garner support and hasten progress towards achieving this fast approaching target.
They advocate for an empowering approach that will propel political momentum, milestones and targets for accountability, new science in drug development and increased funding particularly from G20 countries.
“We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook.”
Emperor Haile Selassie
It was in the city of Gondar in Ethiopia, one of the highest burden countries for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)1 and currently home to 16 to 20 recognised NTDs (table 1), that a unanimous desire was expressed by scientists, policy makers and health workers from around the world (the forum was an operational research training on NTDs organised by the Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT). SORT IT is a global partnership coordinated by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) hosted at the WHO. http://www.who.int/tdr/capacity/strengthening/sort/en), for urgent reflection on how to garner support and hasten the pace towards achieving the fast approaching Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of eliminating NTDs by 2030.2 Concerns, raised by the group are articulated below:
First, there is the term ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases’, coined by Peter Hotez and colleagues in 2003 with the noble intention of propelling political momentum, catalysing donor funding and making quantum shifts in research and development (R&D).3 The question today is whether designating a specific group of diseases as being ‘neglected’ does not carry with it a negative and disempowering connotation. Populations affected by NTDs already face neglect by being …
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