[Ip-health] MSF intervention on WHO EB agenda item 132/9.2 - Neglected Tropical Diseases

Joanna Keenan-Siciliano joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Fri Jan 25 07:16:14 PST 2013

MSF Intervention on Neglected Tropical Diseases at 132nd WHO Executive Board
Michelle Childs, Médecins Sans Frontières International

 Médecins Sans Frontières welcomes the renewed attention and focus on
Neglected Tropical Diseases, and the ambitious goals in the WHO roadmap
aimed at significantly reducing disease burden. MSF would urge member
states to consider three aspects, where the roadmap and the Resolution
could be improved, however:

 First, for most diseases, the roadmap rightly targets both reduced
transmission and intensified case management. For others, however, the
focus is put solely on the reduction of transmission. MSF considers this to
be misguided: a focus on disease control should not be done to the
exclusion of treating people today. Around seven million people live with
chronic Chagas disease globally, for example, yet access to care and
treatment is barely mentioned in the roadmap.
 Second, although donations help address treatment needs for some diseases,
they can not be seen as a global solution for all 17 diseases listed as
neglected tropical diseases. Fewer than five percent of patients in need
are covered by the drug donation for visceral leishmaniasis, for example.
Strategies other than donations that allow access to quality-assured
affordable drugs should also be pursued. The Resolution should therefore
focus on the need to secure sources of quality-assured, affordable
medicines in sufficient quantities, whether through donations or through
encouraging the availability of affordably priced products.

Finally, MSF notes the mention of the need for new and better tools for
NTDs in the resolution. As NTDs typically affect the poorest, the market
for new products is not considered lucrative by pharmaceutical companies
and private investments into neglected disease research and development are
therefore minimal.  However this reference is vague. Encouragement is not
enough. The Resolution should clearly urge WHO, Member States and their
international partners to set a *clear and specific *research and
development agenda for NTDs to promote mechanisms that spur innovation for
diseases with no lucrative market that are in accordance with the proposals
made by the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development:
Financing and Coordination.

Joanna Keenan
Press Officer
Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
P: +41 22 849 87 45
M: +41 79 203 13 02
E: joanna.keenan[at]geneva.msf.org
T: twitter.com/joanna_keenan


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