Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director, DNDi
A decade ago, research and development (R&D) for neglected diseases was at a standstill. At the time, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was experiencing firsthand in the field what it meant to be unable to treat patients with neglected diseases, because treatments did not exist or were inadequate. So MSF decided to commit its 1999 Nobel Peace Prize money to R&D for neglected diseases and, with six key public health partners worldwide – MSF, the Indian Council of Medical Research, Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, Institut Pasteur in France, and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO/TDR) – DNDi was launched in 2003.
DNDi and its many partners have developed and delivered six improved treatments for malaria, sleeping sickness, visceral leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease, and have built a pipeline of potentially radically new breakthrough treatments for these neglected diseases, as well as filaria and paediatric HIV.
After 10 years, we can say that progress has been made – by DNDi and the many other actors working in the field of neglected diseases – in developing and delivering some of the health tools necessary to combat certain neglected diseases. But now is the time to keep the momentum going and encourage all actors involved, from clinicians to policy-makers, from laboratory technicians to executives, from patient activists to donors, to increase the focus on ensuring that the successes are transformed into real and sustainable change.
DNDi aims to mark its 10th anniversary by taking stock of what has been achieved through partnership over the past decade and build on the lessons learned for the future.
‘Connect to Fight Neglect’ is a call to everyone involved, directly or indirectly, in neglected disease R&D to step up to the plate and speak out about the successes, challenges, needs, and realities that should be addressed or recognized moving forward into the next decade.
Click here to join us by contributing your voice to connect.
Dr Bernard Pécoul
Executive Director, DNDi