|Published : 16 Apr 2017, 18:07:40 | Updated : 16 Apr 2017, 18:13:44|
UK to invest £450 to combat most overlooked tropical dieses
Britain is to invest almost half a billion pounds of international aid funding in efforts to tackle some of the world’s worst infectious diseases, reports independent.co.uk.
The money will help protect more than 200 million people in developing countries like Ethiopia, Sudan, Bangladesh and India, as well as funding research into new cures for illnesses otherwise neglected by Western pharmaceutical companies.
The funding was announced on Sunday by Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, ahead of a three-day summit on so-called neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
NTDs affect 1.4 billion people in the poorest parts of the world. From Guinea worm to elephantiasis, they cause debilitating pain, disfigurement and death – but are all avoidable.
“These diseases belong to the last century,” Patel said. “They cause unimaginable suffering and pain to some of the world’s poorest people, forcing them into a deeper cycle of poverty with no way out. Yet they are treatable.”
Patel said the new commitment to fighting NTDs, more than doubling the UK’s annual spending pledged in the London Declaration of 2012, showed ‘global Britain’ would continue to play its part despite the Brexit vote.
The Department for International Development said the new funding would pay for one billion treatments for people at risk of tropical diseases in the developing world. The UK is already one of the biggest partners, alongside the US and the Gates Foundation founded by Bill and Melinda Gates, in a global coalition pushing to eliminate NTDs.
The UK says the most immediate impact of the new funding will be to ‘wipe out’ Guinea Worm altogether, the first such success story among the 17 tropical diseases on the NTDs list. When NGOs and government representatives meet for the summit in Geneva on Wednesday, a major announcement on the progress against Guinea worm is expected.