U.S. Celebrates Historic Progress in the Global Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases: 1 Billion

KAMPALA — U.S. Mission Uganda today announced that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Program, has supported the delivery of 1 billion NTD treatments to some of the world’s poorest populations, cumulatively reaching approximately 465 million people in 25 countries.  To celebrate this milestone, USAID is launching its “One Billion and Counting: Accelerating Action to Eliminate NTDs by 2020” campaign starting on May 8.

NTDs are a diverse group of diseases that affect more than 1 billion people – one sixth of the world’s population – including an estimated 800 million children. These diseases can kill and frequently impair, blind, or disfigure and have devastating economic consequences for communities due to the loss of productivity and income. All five of the NTDs targeted by USAID’s NTD Program are prevalent in Uganda, including blinding trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, and soil-transmitted helminthes. Over one half of the total population of Uganda is at risk of contracting at least one of these diseases.

Beginning in 2007, USAID support was instrumental in bringing together separate health programs to integrate activities under one NTD Control Program.  The national NTD program has successfully expanded treatment campaigns for the five targeted NTDs; it has been able to reach over 30,000 communities and 16,000 schools and institutions in over 80 districts nationwide. Currently, over half of the population is being reached with NTD treatments.  To date, USAID support has enabled the national NTD program to distribute over 142 million treatments to approximately 64 million people.  Assessments have confirmed that mass treatment campaigns have reduced the burden of NTDs.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also a partner with USAID in the United States Government’s Neglected Tropical Diseases Program. CDC’s contributions include scientific research to guide programs and policies, technical expertise related to monitoring and evaluation of program efforts to assess progress, and consultation and training to ministries of health across the globe and other partners to help build global capacity to control and eliminate NTDs.

“Our success in many of the countries where we support the ministries of health in reducing the burden of NTDs is in large part due to the power of committed partnerships – a cornerstone of our NTD program,” says Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Global Health Bureau. USAID’s NTD program is the largest public-private partnership collaboration in the Agency’s 50-year history and to date has enabled $6.7 billion in donated medicines to be delivered to populations in need, representing one of the most cost-effective and innovative partnerships in global health. Five of the drugs needed to treat NTDs, albendazole, mebendazole, Mectizan®, praziquantel and Zithromax®, are donated by GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Co., Inc., Merck KGaA/EMD Serono and Pfizer, respectively.

For additional information, please contact:

Nanyonga Dorothy, Information Assistant, U.S. Mission Uganda

Tel: +256-414-250-314×6104 Cell: +0772138194, 0784846334

Email:  NanyongaDx@state.gov

For more information about USAID and its programs, please visitwww.usaid.gov