"We are proud to be part of this extraordinary partnership to help control and eventually eliminate some of these devastating diseases from the region," said Kari Stoever, Managing Director of the Global Network. "This new partnership is the first milestone reached in developing Regional Funds under the generous Gates Foundation grant awarded to the Global Network to foster collaboration to defeat neglected tropical diseases. It also is a concrete example of how organizations and governments can work together to support new investments to reach control and elimination goals under President Obama's Global Health Initiative."
The new Regional Fund will support measures to control and eliminate NTDs, the most common infections of more than 200 million of the poorest people in the Latin American and Caribbean region. They include tens of millions of cases of intestinal worm infections, such as whipworm, large common roundworm, and hookworm, and almost 10 million cases of Chagas disease, as well as schistosomiasis, trachoma, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis (LF), and onchocerciasis.
NTDs produce extreme poverty through their impact on children's physical and cognitive development, pregnancy outcome and worker productivity. However, with a firm commitment from the public and private sectors, it is possible to eliminate onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis and trachoma throughout the region as well as schistosomiasis in the Caribbean.
Ultimately, the roadmap for the control and elimination of the more widespread NTDs will require an inter-sectoral approach that bridges public health, social services, and environmental interventions. The IDB has been a leader in championing this approach through its efforts to create new linkages between water and sanitation projects and public health programs.