Remarks by USAID’s Dr. Atul Gawande, Assistant Administrator for Global Health, at the 100% Committed Launch, recognizing the progress made against NTDs in the last decade.

See the remarks as a part of the full event here at 01:26:19. 


I am so glad to be here today. Thank you for including me. I am especially pleased to be here in celebration of the progress that’s been made in controlling and eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases. And also, I am delighted to be here in recognizing the work that is still needed to be done to eliminate them completely. 

It is said that Neglected Tropical Diseases exist “quietly, in the shadow of… better-known diseases” [Source: NYT]. NTDs are lesser-known, though, not because these diseases are rare, but because they afflict those who do not have the megaphones, the resources, or the power in the world. That’s why it is so important that you all have gathered here today to lift not just these diseases but these people out of the shadows. 

We cannot forget that we are all created equal; that all lives are of equal worth. And as evidence of what we mean by that, this work has now reached more than 40 countries where at least one NTD has been eliminated. I come in as the new leader of global health of USAID, and in this role, I am so proud to say that the U.S. is honored to have helped ten countries to reach that milestone of elimination. Since 2006, USAID has collaborated with more than 30 countries to deliver 2.8 billion treatments to stop five of the most burdensome NTDs. The contributions that this has leveraged from pharma companies has brought in a staggering 28 billion dollars worth of medicines from six companies. 

And now I’m pleased to announce that USAID support has enabled 15 more countries to be on track to eliminate at least one NTD as a public health problem in the next five years. I want to take note that partnerships are what have made all of this possible. To end all NTDs, however, more partnerships, both public partnerships and private, are going to be needed. 

In order to ensure resilient, sustainable health for all, national leaders have to be able to ensure that Neglected Tropical Disease services are incorporated into our systems into national systems for health, for sanitation, for agriculture, and for education. All are key to eliminating NTDs-to ending them for good. We at USAID are completely committed to enabling us [all] to lift Neglected Tropical Diseases out of the shadows and finally bring them to an end. I thank you all again for being here, and thank you for including me.

Remarks delivered January 27, 2022