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[e-drug] DNDi releases WHO-endorsed statement calling on G8 leaders to increase their commitment to neglected tropical diseases

E-DRUG: DNDi releases WHO-endorsed statement calling on G8 leaders to increase 
their commitment to neglected tropical diseases
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DNDi calls on G8 leaders to increase their commitment to neglected tropical 
diseases

GENEVA - June 30, 2008 - Immediately following the Drugs for Neglected Diseases 
initiative (DNDi) Stakeholders' Meeting on June 26, 2008, and in advance of the 
upcoming 2008 G8 Summit in Japan, DNDi released a statement endorsed by World 
Health Organization (WHO) urging the G8 governments to support both control 
programs and research & development (R&D) initiatives for neglected tropical 
diseases.  New and better-adapted treatments and diagnostics are needed for 
chronically endemic tropical diseases that have a significant impact on the 
lives of the poor, yet are neglected by the global public health agenda.

The statement calls upon the world's wealthiest nations "to commit resources 
for appropriate and sustainable financial mechanisms to strengthen existing 
efforts and to support innovation required to meet the priority health needs of 
developing countries."

For some of the neglected tropical diseases, large programs supported by 
public-private partnerships, including drug donations, provide effective and 
safe medicines which can be administered to at-risk populations with the aim of 
eventually eliminating the disease. Despite the fact that many low-cost and 
effective interventions are available to control some of these diseases, the 
majority of affected populations still do not have access due to lack of 
resources.

Furthermore, research is needed for new, practical and effective diagnostics 
and medicines. As the microbial world is constantly evolving, even the best 
control tools can lose their power if drug resistance develops or disease 
patterns change. Long-term investment is essential to develop better medicines, 
to prevent resistance, and to ensure sustainability.

Thus, DNDi urges the active participation of public institutions from developed 
countries to assist their counterparts in the developing world. According to 
Dr. Bernard Pécoul, DNDi's Executive Director, "In order for the needs of 
neglected patients to be met, countries of the G8 must take measures to ensure 
that investment in research goes hand-in-hand with control program support."

The full text of the statement is available below and at www.dndina.org/g8/.

About DNDi
DNDi is an independent, non-profit product development partnership working to 
research and develop new and improved treatments for neglected diseases such as 
malaria, leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness and Chagas Disease. With the 
objective to address unmet patient needs for these diseases, DNDi has developed 
the largest ever portfolio for the kinetoplastid diseases and has already 
released two new antimalarial medicines. The  DNDi founding members are 5 
research institutions: Institut Pasteur, Kenya Medical Research Institute 
(KEMRI), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Foundation Oswaldo Cruz 
in Brazil, the Ministry of Health in Malaysia, and the humanitarian 
organisation Médecins sans Frontières. The special Programme for Research and 
Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) from WHO/UNICEF/World Bank acts as a 
permanenent observer to the initiative.  For further information, please visit: 
http://www.dndi.org.

Joint DNDi and WHO Statement
Neglected tropical diseases continue to affect more than 1 billion people all 
over the world

Geneva - June 30, 2008 - Infectious and parasitic diseases - most of which are 
preventable and/or treatable - remain the primary cause of death worldwide. 
International attention is currently focused on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and 
tuberculosis, as well as on global health security. However, many other 
chronically endemic tropical diseases, which have a very significant negative 
impact on the lives of poor populations, are still very much neglected by the 
global public health agenda.

Most neglected tropical diseases1 primarily affect poor and marginalized people 
who have few resources or possibilities to make a living. In developing 
countries, these diseases affect individuals, families, and entire communities. 
The high burden of disease and loss of productivity aggravate poverty and 
contribute to high cost of long-term care.  Socioeconomic development and 
quality of life is affected at all levels. Improved control and prevention of 
these diseases will help to alleviate poverty and to reach the Millennium 
Development Goals.

For some of the neglected tropical diseases, large programmes supported by 
effective partnerships, including drug donations, provide effective and safe 
medicines which can be administered to at-risk populations in order to 
eventually eliminate the disease. Despite the fact that many low-cost and 
effective interventions are available to control some of these diseases, the 
majority of affected populations still do not have access to them due to a lack 
of resources.

Other diseases such as human African trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease, 
leishmaniasis, and Buruli ulcer, present the greatest challenge for intensified 
control because no adequate tools exist: effective and adapted options for 
prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are needed.
Research is needed for new, practical and effective improved diagnostics and 
medicines and for effective ways to implement them. As the microbial world is 
constantly evolving, even the best control tools can lose their power if drug 
resistance develops or disease patterns change. Long-term investment is 
essential to develop better medicines, to prevent resistance, and to ensure 
this is not a one-off achievement.

Demanding technical requirements of existing therapeutic tools limit their use 
and require long hospital stays, with devastating consequences on livelihoods 
(particularly in subsistence-farming areas). Until simpler and safer drugs are 
developed, control efforts must remain extremely resource intensive and poorly 
suited to strategies for reaching those most in need.
Despite ongoing efforts of existing product development partnerships, the 
inadequacies of existing tools and of infrastructures to deliver them remain 
major constraints.

Patients deserve affordable and safe diagnostics and treatment. To control 
these diseases and to have an impact on health and poverty, investment in 
long-term research must go hand in hand with program support. Doing so will 
help fulfil the promise of ongoing positive trends, including the conviction - 
underlying many research, control, and intervention partnerships - that 
neglected tropical diseases can be eliminated when the world's best tools and 
methodologies are made available to all at-risk populations.

In preparation for the 2008 G8 Summit in Japan, we ask you to support official 
inclusion of the following statement:
"Recognizing the importance of neglected diseases as global health, 
educational, and economic threats in developing countries, the G8 commits to 
support both neglected diseases' control programs and research & development 
initiatives to develop new and better adapted treatments and diagnostics. 
Further to this, the G8 commits to recommend appropriate, sustainable financial 
mechanisms to strengthen existing efforts and to support innovation required to 
meet the priority health needs of developing countries."

Dr. Lorenzo Savioli
Director
Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases

Dr. Bernard Pécoul
Executive Director
Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative






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