Wednesday, 12 February 2014

UK House of Lords welcome UK Coalition's expertise and call for increased global support

On 7th February a special Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) debate was held at the UK's House of Lord's to mark the second anniversary of the London Declaration on NTDs. Tabled by Baroness Helene Hayman the discussion welcomed the high levels expertise brought by UKCNTD members to the research and implementation of effective NTD programmes and called for the UK Government to encourage donor government partners to follow its lead in supporting and advocating for improved NTD control strategies.

A key success of the 2012 London Declaration is that NTD control strategies are beginning to be prioritised by the global community, as noted by Baroness Hayman "[NTDs]inclusion in the 'healthy lives' goal of the high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda, published in May last year, was, I believe, a crucial step forward”.

Baroness Hayman highlighted the work that the UK Coalition against NTDs, and like-minded alliances in NTD endemic countries were undertaking to develop sustainable and effective NTD control programmes. "The academic and voluntary sector, both of which are so strong in the UK, have much to offer both in research and in resource. Such technical support [from coalitions] will be essential for plans such as the recently drawn-up Africa regional NTD strategy if it is to be successful."

However, even with the wide ranging support offered by the London Declaration financing remains an issue. Baroness Hayman said, "Given the relative cheapness—we know that many would argue that treating NTDs was the best bang for your buck that you could get in public health expenditure—and the cost efficiency of NTD control work, given the extensive drug donations, it has been estimated that there is still a £200 million funding gap to be bridged if we are to meet the goals of the London Declaration."

She continued, "I am not asking Her Majesty’s Government to meet this gap themselves; they have already been generous and committed in this area. However, I ask the Minister what progress the Government is making in championing investment in NTD work with other key international donor governments, particularly perhaps France, Germany and Australia."

"Combating NTDs punches above its weight in broader health and wider development terms. We need to renew and reinvigorate our commitment to research, prevention and treatment programmes."

Baroness echoed the UK Coalition's call for increased coordination and integration of development initiatives by saying, " Integrating existing strategies such as mass drug administration with broader public health programmes such as those on water, sanitation and education, we not only enhance the effectiveness of those strategies but start to build from the bottom up the sort of universal health coverage and health systems needed to underpin development."

  • Download the Minutes from the NTD debate