My name is Simon Bush, I'm director of Neglected Tropical Diseases at Sightsavers.
I'll be talking to you on the role of nongovernmental organizations in NTD programs.
The summary of my talk today is a look at
the evolution of NGDO interests in neglected tropical diseases,
the role of NGDOs in NTD programs,
two challenges that NGDOs have in NTD programs,
working in conflict areas and cross-border issues,
and then finally a case study of the NTD
NGDO network and I'll bring together a few conclusions at the end of the talk.
These diseases have not suddenly emerged.
They've been the subject of various studies since
the earliest days of tropical medicine.
For instance, Patrick Manson first discovered in 1897 that
insects were capable of transmitting infective agents.
But the term 'neglected diseases' really emerged in the 1980s when
Ken Warren from the Rockefeller health department
introduced the term 'Great Neglected Diseases'.
There was a bit of a silence and then in 2003 and 2004,
the term 'neglected tropical diseases' was taken on board
at an advocacy meeting around funding with the WHO.
So as I have just indicated,
it's not a new area of work for NGDOs.
For example, a large amount of research on onchocerciasis was
undertaken in the 1950s in East and West Africa,
vector control work in Uganda for river blindness in the 1950s and 60s
and the River Blindness Foundation formed in 1990.
In fact, an NGDO was first associated with calling onchocerciasis by its common name,
river blindness in the 1950s by Lady Jean Wilson who was touring Ghana at the time.
That term 'neglected tropical diseases' was coined by Professors Fenwick,
Molyneux and Hotez in 2003 and it really
brought together a concerted global effort around those diseases.
Addressing NTDs under a single brand has added to the interest in
NTDs which has subsequently added funding and implementation support,
but the work around each of the individual diseases is not new.
I'm going to trace some of the earlier work back to 1989 when the donation program of
Mectizan donated by Merck & Co., for
the control and in time elimination of onchocerciasis started.
At that time, I think there was a match in development studies that
became interested in community involvement in programs.
The donation of the drug was probably one of
the most important term stages in the control and elimination of onchocerciasis,
but it also raised a challenge.
The challenge was how to get that donation to
the communities that were suffering from the disease.
That's where that early work around a community involvement in NTDs started
right as I have spoken at length about Mectizan and the impact it has had but perhaps,
one of the most important quotes is that "Mectizan may have changed
the face of tropical medicine more than any other drug this century".