Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) impact millions of people worldwide every year – and billions more are at risk. NTDs mostly occur in tropical climates and disproportionately affect people who are already vulnerable, whether due to poverty or marginalization. These diseases are neglected because they are not profitable to research, so there is too little research for better treatments and diagnostics.
Founded 20 years ago, DNDi works to address this injustice by working in partnership with communities, governments, the pharmaceutical industry, non-profit organizations, universities, and healthcare providers. Our aim is to develop urgently needed treatments that are affordable, available, and adapted to the communities who need them.
Raising awareness around the world
On World NTD Day on 30 January, we gathered with partners, healthcare providers, and communities around the world to celebrate the achievements we have made so far and discuss ways to overcome the challenges that still prevent medical innovation from reaching people living with NTDs.
Our call for innovation and medical research for all!
We used social media to raise awareness of the 1.7 billion people affected by NTDs and the need for innovation to develop better treatments for these diseases. Thank you to all the supporters and advocates who helped us spread the word that we should bring the #BestScienceforAll and end the neglect.
Neglected tropical diseases in the media
On the occasion of World NTD Day, we shared messages through editorial opinion articles:
- Eliminating neglected diseases in Africa: there are good reasons for hope by Dr Monique Wasunna, Director of DNDi Eastern Africa, published in The Conversation Africa
- Right time to take a stab at innovations to sustain kala-azar elimination by Dr Kavita Singh, Director of DNDi South Asia, published in The Pioneer
We were pleased to see the world’s media pay greater attention to NTDs with some prominent reporting:
- NTV Kenya: Your World – Neglected tropical diseases
- Radio Okapi: Lutte contre les maladies tropicales négligées : bilan et perspectives ?
- The Economic Times: Neglected tropical diseases continue to pose significant health burden in India
- El País: De una inyección mortal para algunos a una pastilla que sana a todos: las enfermedades olvidadas se curan con investigación
- El Colombiano: La importancia de atender las enfermedades que están en el olvido
- TV Brasil: Doenças negligenciadas: Ação busca conscientizar a população
Act now, act together, and invest in NTDs
Six months ago, the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases brought together world leaders to reaffirm commitments to end malaria and NTDs and endorse the Kigali Declaration calling for political will and resource mobilization to achieve the goals of the World Health Organization (WHO) Roadmap on NTDs. This World NTD Day was an opportunity to call attention to the commitments made in Rwanda and the need to act now, act together, and invest in NTDs.
‘The status quo won’t get us there’
The annual G-FINDER report reviews critical trends in medical research and development (R&D) funding on neglected diseases. The 2022 report, released this week, reveals that after a decade of stagnation, investment in R&D for neglected tropical diseases fell by more than 10% in 2021, putting progress toward control and elimination at risk. We can’t protect the gains we’ve made against NTDs or reach WHO NTD Roadmap 2030 targets without increased support and sustained commitment.
Innovating together for 20 years
20 years ago, it was shocking neglect that led to DNDi’s creation. Faced with medicines that were ineffective, unsafe, unavailable, or unaffordable – or that had never been developed at all – doctors and health workers around the world lacked the tools they needed to ensure their patients’ health and survival. Two decades later, we have proven that a collaborative, not-for-profit model for pharmaceutical R&D can deliver for neglected patients with 12 new treatments delivered for six deadly diseases.
Throughout 2023, we’ll be joining with our friends and allies to look back at the advances our partnerships have made over twenty years of collaboration – renewing our commitments, taking stock of the road we’ve travelled and lessons we’ve learned, and examining the obstacles we’ve yet to overcome.