Major pharmaceutical companies of the world has joined hands along with governments and leading global health organizations on Monday to work on 10 neglected diseases by the year 2020.
After facing criticism by many, the companies have planned to work against diseases such as Guinea worm diseases, sleeping sickness – a disease transmitted through tsetse fly bites – and leprosy. The companies have promised to give away 14 billion doses of medicines by the end of this decade. Moreover, they will work together to invent new medications for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) – illnesses that affects millions of world’s poor people – that have no treatments yet.
The project is expected to raise $785 million to work on NTD research and development (R&D) along with the strengthening of drug distribution and treatment programs.
“These ancient diseases are now being brought to their knees with stunning speed,” Margaret Chan, World Health Organization (WHO) director general, who announced the deal in London, told an audience at the Royal College of Physicians in the British capital.
“With the boost to this momentum being made today, I am confident almost all of these diseases can be eliminated or controlled by the end of this decade.”
According to experts, more than a billion people are affected by NTDs in which more than 500 million are children.
Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and philanthropist, optimistically said,
“Maybe as the decade goes on people will be wondering whether we should still call these diseases ‘neglected’,”