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USAID Fights Neglected Tropical Diseases
Date:2/22/2008

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On February 20, 2008, President Bush challenged the world to reduce and eventually control and eliminate the burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) as a major threat to health and economic growth in the developing world. The new Presidential Initiative for NTD Control will increase the United States' commitment to NTDs from $15 million in 2008 to a total of $350 million over five years. These funds will provide integrated treatment to more than 300 million people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In addition, the new initiative will expand the targeted number of countries from 10 in 2008 to approximately 30 by 2013.

The initiative will build on U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) investments in NTDs control and will target seven major diseases: lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis); schistosomiasis (snail fever); trachoma (eye infection); onchocerciasis (river blindness); and three soil-transmitted helminthes (hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm).

Approximately one billion people, mostly in the developing world, suffer from one or more NTDs. Seven of these diseases - the seven targeted by the new initiative - can be controlled and even eliminated through targeted mass drug administration. Most of these diseases either blind, deform, or debilitate their victims. In addition, they can contribute to limited school enrollment, diminished childhood growth and cognitive development, and reduced economic productivity in adults. Treating the millions of people who suffer from NTDs will help to change these negative effects and to improve not only personal health, but also economic growth at large.

USAID's Commitment to Fighting NTDs

USAID began an integrated NTD control program in 2006, focusing initially on five countries in Africa - Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Uganda. In its first year of implementation, this program delivered more than 35 million NTD tre
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SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development
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