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  • on 31.03.2014
  • at 03:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Making progress in fighting Africa’s neglected diseases 0

Africa needs coordination and more funding to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), writes Gilbert Nakweya.The fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa picked momentum in 2012.

There was a WHO global roadmap for implementing actions to control NTDs, a London Declaration on NTDs, and an Accra Urgent Call for Action on NTDs — all in that year.

In September last year, the WHO regional office for Africa also issued a strategic plan to control Africa’s NTDs for the period 2014-2020.

But despite some successes, Africa is still grappling with challenges of controlling NTDs, experts say.

“Neglected patients’ medical needs specific to Africa are many, and as scientists and policymakers in Africa, we need to share research and resources across borders to save time and to help those most in need,” says Monique Wasunna money, director of Kenya-based Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) Africa office.

DNDi, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, was formed in 2003 as a not-for-profit organisation to help research and develop innovative and improved treatments for NTDs.

According to its website, DNDi aims to deliver 11 to 13 new treatments by 2018 for targeted neglected diseases, including sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, paediatric HIV, cutaneous leshmaniasis and visceral leshmaniasis — also called kala-azar.

Bernard Pécoul, the executive director of DNDi, says his organisation is working on 30 projects to develop new drugs for these diseases, citing six new oral treatments that have since 2003 been developed to combat diseases such as sleeping sickness and Chagas disease.

continue reading on SciDev Net 

By Gilbert NakweyaSciDev Net 

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