"The U.K. government has announced a fivefold increase in spending on combating neglected tropical diseases [NTDs] as part of an international effort to help rid the world of a group of infectious diseases that currently affect one billion people and kill more than half a million every year," BMJ reports (Moszynski, 1/23). "International Development Minister Stephen O'Brien said funding for [NTDs] is to increase from £50 million to £245 million [approximately $381.5 million] between 2011 and 2015 as part of a global push to eradicate diseases including river blindness and elephantiasis," the Press Association writes.
"The extra money will help supply more than four treatments every second for people in the developing world for the next four years, protecting more than 140 million people," according to the news agency, which adds the programs will focus on lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), onchocerciasis (river blindness), schistosomiasis (bilharzia) and dracunculiasis (Guinea worm) (1/21). The announcement "comes ahead of a conference in London on January 30 when the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, governments, [non-governmental organizations], multilateral organizations and the private sector will unite to help consign the diseases to history," according to a U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) press release (.pdf) (1/21).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.