Japanese Fund Will Support R&D for Innovative New Tools to Combat Diseases Like Sleeping Sickness, Chagas Disease and Schistosomiasis—Among the NTDs That Afflict More Than One Billion People Worldwide
PARIS, FRANCE (April 2, 2014)—The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) today welcomed progress made on the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, endorsed the initiative, and pledged new funding toward defeating the world’s most neglected diseases.
Launched in January 2012 with an unprecedented group of private sector and public partners, the declaration marked the largest coordinated effort to control or eliminate 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020. The GHIT Fund’s endorsement today of the declaration came as world leaders met in Paris to celebrate progress made so far and to accelerate efforts toward achieving the declaration’s goals.
With today’s endorsement, the GHIT Fund committed to dedicate additional financial resources towards the research and development of new medicines, vaccines and diagnostics for NTDs. To that end, the GHIT Fund plans to announce in June 2014 a request for proposals to address R&D problems that align with the goals of the declaration.
“It’s extraordinary to see the strides that the global community is making toward eliminating the world’s most neglected diseases, which afflict more than one billion people,” said Dr. BT Slingsby, CEO and executive director of the GHIT Fund. “But we do not have all the tools we need to meet our goals and we must continue to muster more resources and expertise for this fight. Today, we commit to advancing NTD technologies that will prevent the deaths, severe illnesses and suffering of too many of the world’s poorest people, so that they can live healthy and productive lives.”
Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, welcomed the GHIT Fund commitment. “We welcome the GHIT Fund’s investment and collaboration in the global fight against diseases that disproportionately affect the poorest of the poor,” Chan said. “This commitment of additional resources for R&D moves us a big step closer to the goal of controlling and defeating these neglected diseases and the vast human misery they cause.”
Nearly one in six people suffer from NTDs, largely in the world’s poorest communities. Neglected diseases cause delayed growth in children, permanent disabilities—even death. They impair cognition and memory and cause organ damage and blindness. Repeated bouts of illness prevent families from working and collectively mire entire communities in poverty.
“No community, country or economy can grow as long as such large populations are so burdened by disease,” Slingsby said.
The GHIT Fund is a public-private partnership between five Japanese pharmaceutical companies, two Japanese government ministries and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in April 2013 with US$100 million in funding, the organization taps Japanese R&D to fight neglected diseases. It is the first fund to involve a consortium of pharmaceutical companies, government and civil society working together to support research and development for neglected diseases.
“The GHIT Fund will apply Japanese technology, innovation and insights to stimulate new solutions for neglected diseases that are such a huge burden not just on individuals but on entire societies,” said GHIT Fund Board Member and Director of Global Health Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan, Hiroyuki Yamaya. “By collectively amplifying our efforts, we believe the world can eliminate these diseases.”
For more information, visit http://ghitfund.org/.
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