March 1, 2008

President Announces Initiative to Fight Neglected Tropical Diseases

President Bush recently announced a new initiative designed to considerably decrease the impact of neglected tropical diseases in developing countries.  The President’s New Global Initiative to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases, announced on Feb. 20, will increase the U.S. commitment in this area from $15 million to $350 million by 2013. 

These funds will provide integrated treatment to more than 30 million people to treat such diseases as  lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis); schistosomiasis (snail fever); trachoma; onchocerciasis (river blindness); and three soil-transmitted helminths–hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm. 

Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and executive director of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, is pleased with the announcement. “Many of the afflicted are the world’s poorest citizens who have nowhere else to turn for treatment,” he said.  “With this announcement, President Bush has sent a strong signal that the United States cares deeply about those who are so often forgotten.  The Initiative says that these diseases should be neglected no more.”

fact sheet about the initiative is available from the White House website.

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