Bill Gates to launch initiative against tropical diseases

The philanthropist Bill Gates, who founded the software giant Microsoft, will on Monday at the Royal College of Physicians in London launch the largest ever initiative to tackle ten Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD).

Bill Gates
Bill Gates

The campaign is being backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the British Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank and thirteen pharmaceutical companies.

The aim of the campaign is to coordinate improvements in drug supply and delivery, research and development and infrastructure in order to control or eliminate NTDs by 2020.

Several senior health figures will be at the launch including the Director-General of the World Health Organisation Dr Margaret Chan, and Mozambique’s Health Minister Alexandre Manguele.

The British government has announced that it will increase funding for efforts to combat NTDs from 50 million pounds to 245 million pounds between 2011 and 2015. These funds will concentrate on four diseases – elephantiasis, river blindness, bilharzia and Guinea Worm. It is expected that this will protect more than 140 million of the world’s poorest people.

NTDs affect more than a billion people worldwide, and kill an estimated half a million people each year.

Post published in: Africa News

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