The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (Global Network) urges leaders attending the 6th BRICS Heads of State Summit on July 14-16, 2014 to capitalize on the Summit’s theme, “inclusive growth: sustainable solutions” by giving visibility to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
The Summit’s emphasis on social inclusion and sustainable development presents heads of state and officials from the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) with an exceptional opportunity to shine the spotlight on the problem of NTDs — the most common diseases of the world’s poor and a root cause of poverty and inequality — and identify concrete steps to ensure that NTD control and elimination programs are included in the BRICS’ global health and development agendas.
These diseases impact more than 1.4 billion people worldwide, and many of them are endemic in BRICS nations, except Russia. BRICS countries account for more than 30 percent of the world’s children at risk for intestinal worm infections, and India alone accounts for nearly half of the world’s population at risk for lymphatic filaraisis. NTDs cause delayed childhood development, poor pregnancy outcomes, malnutrition, blindness and crippling physical disfigurements. They represent a serious obstacle to educational advancements, worker productivity and economic growth.
The five BRICS countries are uniquely positioned — as a group and as individual countries — to inject added momentum and resources in the fight against NTDs, advancing progress towards the World Health Organization’s 2020 control and elimination targets. To help make the end of NTDs the world’s next major public health milestone and generate significant progress toward eliminating extreme poverty, the Global Network calls for BRICS leaders to:
- Expand access to NTD treatments by prioritizing NTDs in their national health programs and share the best practices, expertise and knowledge acquired in controlling NTDs within their own borders with other endemic countries.
- Explore ways to collaborate in the fight against NTDs, particularly as the BRICS finalize plans for a new development bank, by increasing dialogue between their heads of state and health ministers, and expanding south-south and trilateral cooperation projects.
- Encourage other international policy discussions on NTDs, including G7/8, G20 and post-2015 development agenda meetings, highlighting the need for increased political commitments, resource mobilization and policy implementation that support NTD control and elimination on the global level.
- Expand dialogue on global health as a priority area of joint collaboration and include NTDs in its final Fortaleza Declaration and Plan of Action, the anticipated outcome documents of this Summit.
To learn more about the BRICS’ role in the fight against NTDs, please read a new article in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, “BRICS in the Response to Neglected Tropical Diseases”
About the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases
The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is an advocacy initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute that works in partnership with international agencies, governments, academic institutions, corporations, non-governmental development organizations and the general public to raise the awareness, political will and funding necessary to control and eliminate the seven most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020. For more information, please visit www.globalnetwork.org
About the Sabin Vaccine Institute
The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Since its founding in 1993 in honor of Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the developer of the oral polio vaccine, Sabin has been at the forefront of global efforts to eliminate, prevent and cure infectious and neglected tropical diseases. Sabin develops new vaccines, advocates for increased use of existing vaccines and promotes expanded access to affordable medical treatments in collaboration with governments, academic institutions, scientists, medical professionals and other non-profit organizations. For more information, please visit http://www.sabin.org