Bertrand Walckenaer, Deputy CEO of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and Dr Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), signed an agreement today for a project to support the research and development of treatments for neglected tropical diseases. Implementing a strategy to develop suitable, affordable, and safe treatments is a major international challenge; more than one billion people in 149 countries are affected by these diseases. This project is funded by a EUR 8 million grant.
Funding research while simultaneously providing care are both crucial elements in the fight against tropical diseases.
Access for all to affordable, quality medicines is key to achieving one of the Sustainable Development Goals – universal health coverage. Research and development (R&D) is critical in the fight against tropical diseases. This project is consistent with ongoing French support for the DNDi model, which has been in place for more than 10 years.
It is broken down into three specific objectives:
- develop work carried out on the innovative DNDi model through the lens of the “commons”: DNDi will give more consideration to the sustainability of this model and the operational application of the research on the commons approach conducted in collaboration with AFD.
- introduce new drugs for sleeping sickness: DNDi has just completed the development of a new treatment – the first all-oral drug for this disease – considerably simplifying patient management and enabling us to envisage the elimination of sleeping sickness. DNDi is coordinating the studies required by the regulatory authorities to introduce this treatment in endemic countries and ensure that it is accessible to patients.
- provide HIV-positive newborns and very young children with an optimal antiretroviral drug: to ensure treatments developed by DNDi are available in target countries, the project aims to address barriers to access by creating the conditions required for these treatments to be made available to patients (training, supply, introducing the new, child-friendly treatment to the countries, etc.).
Fighting against neglected tropical diseases has an economic and social impact
The project reduces social inequality by targeting particularly vulnerable population groups (e.g., rural African populations in the case of sleeping sickness, children in developing countries for HIV).
Simpler and more affordable treatments reduce the burden of these diseases on health systems, allowing human and financial resources to be reallocated to other priorities. The project also strengthens the capacity of national stakeholders to plan, manage, and monitor programmes and policies on access to treatments.
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit research and development organization working to deliver new treatments for neglected diseases – notably leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, specific filarial infections, and mycetoma – as well as treatments for neglected patients, particularly those living with paediatric HIV and hepatitis C. Since its inception in 2003, DNDi and its partners have already delivered eight innovative treatments to improve the quality of life and health of patients. www.dndi.org
About the Agence Française de Développement (AFD)
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) group is a public institution that implements France’s development and international solidarity policy.
Focusing on climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban development, health, and governance, our teams are involved in more than 4,000 projects which are having a major social and environmental impact in France’s overseas departments and territories and in another 115 countries. We are thus contributing to a commitment by France and the French people to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). www.afd.fr
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Photo credit: Paul Kamau-DNDi