- About the Program
- Target Diseases
|Photo from left to right: Angela Weaver, USAID's NTD lead; Dr. Nana Birutwum, National NTD Coordinator, Ministry of Health, Ghana; Dr. Mwele Malacela, Director of National Institute of Medical Research, Tanzanial; Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator, Global Health USAID; Dr. Caroline Harper; CEO of Sightsavers; Dr. Uche Amazigo, Former Director of APOC; and Dr. Adetokunbo “Ade” Lucas, Founding Director of WHO's Special Program for Research, Training in Tropical Diseases.|
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Russell Senate Office Building
September 19, USAID Administrator Dr. Raj Shah will join The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Lindsey Graham, Chris Coons, Benjamin Cardin, and other members of Congress along with more than 130 representatives from nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and global health and civil society organizations to hail historic progress, celebrate champions, and underscore continuing challenges in the global fight against diseases affecting the world’s poorest and most marginal populations. Leveraging unprecedented donations of medicines by pharmaceutical companies, global neglected tropical disease (NTD) partnerships are enabling countries around the world to eliminate and control these diseases by the year 2020.
NTDs are a group of 17 diseases that disproportionately impact those living in poverty. It is estimated that more than 1 billion people are affected by NTDs, including more than 500 million children. The opportunity exists to help millions of people avoid significant debilitation and disability, including malnutrition, disfigurement, and social discrimination. By providing access to existing drugs and accelerating research and development to generate new treatments, millions of people can have a better opportunity to succeed in school, earn a living wage, and lead a more productive life.
Global partnerships have been instrumental to the efforts of governments and others who work together to create new medicines, get the drugs to the communities that need them, and enlist local support to ensure appropriateness of proposed interventions. Our work is making a large-scale, cost-effective contribution to the global effort to reduce the burden of NTDs.
All partners are committed to sustaining or expanding existing drug donation programs; accelerating research and development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics; and strengthening drug distribution and implementation programs in disease-endemic countries.
With the support of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Government, through USAID’s NTD Program, has supported countries to deliver more than half a billion NTD treatments in just 6 years, reaching cumulatively more than 250 million people in 20 countries. Over the last 6 years, more than $3.1 billion worth of drugs have been donated by the pharmaceutical industry to USAID’s NTD focus countries. USAID has invested $301 million to support national NTD programs to distribute these drugs.
Dr. Nana Biritwum is the National NTD Coordinator with the Ghana Health Service. Dr. Biritwum joined the Health Research Unit of the Ghana Health Service as Deputy of the Ghana Filariasis Elimination Program more than 10 years ago. Dr. Biritwum coordinates all technical activities for lymphatic filariasis elimination and the control of onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, trachoma, and soil-transmitted helminths. In 2006, when the integrated NTD Control Program was conceived with the support of USAID, Dr. Biritwum coordinated and led the process of developing the first 2-year strategic plan of action for the integrated NTD Control Program in Ghana.
Dr. Mwele Malecela is Director General of the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania, the first woman to hold this position. She is well known for her role in advocacy campaigns that have brought to light the real extent of NTDs in Tanzania. As Director General, Dr. Malecela prioritizes institutional strengthening, research capacity building, and the translation of research into action, policy, and practice. She is a strong advocate of evidence-based planning and the use of research results in district- and subdistrict-based planning. She has extensive research experience in efforts to eliminate filariasis, and has run the national lymphatic filariasis program since its inception in 2000.
Dr. Uche Amazigo served as the Director of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) from 2005 to 2011. During her tenure at APOC she coordinated 108 community-directed treatment programs in 16 African countries, reaching millions with ivermectin, the drug used to treat onchocerciasis. Dr. Amazigo has been a steadfast champion of rural populations and advocates empowering communities to take an active and decisive part in decision-making concerning their health.
Dr. Adetokunbo ‘Ade’ Lucas studied medicine at Durham University in England, graduating with honors in 1956. Dr. Lucas also received postgraduate training in internal medicine and public health. From 1960 to 1976, he taught internal medicine and public health in Ibadan, Nigeria. He directed the WHO Tropical Diseases Research Program from 1976 to 1986 and from 1986 to 1990. Dr. Lucas was appointed Professor of International Health at Harvard University in 1990, where he is currently an adjunct professor. His research has contributed to improved understanding of the epidemiology of schistosomiasis, malaria, and other tropical diseases. He has served on the technical advisory boards of several national organizations and international agencies, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Carter Center, the Welcome Trust Scientific Group on Tropical Medicine, and the Bill & Melinda Gates’ Children’s Vaccine Programme. Dr. Lucas is a fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and is one of the first foreign associates of the Institute of Medicine.