A large group of neglected tropical disease (NTD) partners, individuals, institutions and related stakeholders have joined together to urge leaders from the Group of 7 (G7) major advanced economies (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) to scale up investments to control and eliminate NTDs.
NTDs are the most common diseases of the world’s poor. Spread by insects like mosquitoes and flies, or through contact with contaminated water or soil, these diseases disable and debilitate one in six people worldwide, including half a billion children. Both trachoma and onchocerciasis (river blindess), two major causes of avoidable blindness globally, are classed as ‘neglected’ tropical diseases, and are still endemic in parts of Africa, the Eastern Mediterranea, South East Asia and, to a lesser extent, Latin America.
Efforts to eliminate blindness due to trachoma and onchocerciasis have made great strides, however there are still major challenges ahead to ensure programmes reach all affected populations.
The Open Letter to G7 Heads of State on Neglected Tropical Diseases can serve as a useful advocacy tool to keep the pressure up on all international donors and political leaders to prioritize NTD control and elimination programmes as part of their public health programmes.