A new G-FINDER survey reveals funding for medical research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) has dropped significantly in 2020, marking four consecutive years of decline, which could cause millions of people in Africa to miss out on treatments for NTDs.
By Abdullahi Tsanni
Funding shortfall could hinder the implementation of the WHO 2030 Roadmap for the elimination of NTDs; and reverse hard-fought gains in the fight against neglected diseases. Global funding for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) has declined to USD $328 million in 2020 – a 6% decrease from 2019, marking four years of decline and continuing a decade of relative funding stagnation.
Launched ahead of World NTD Day (30 January) the annual report provides a comprehensive analysis of global investment in research and development (R&D) for new products to prevent, diagnose, control, and treat neglected diseases in developing countries. It showed that public funding for NTDs fell 7% in 2020. This contrasts 2019 by USD $21 million, and was 7% lower than the five-year average. While philanthropic funding grew 12% in 2020, it was 12% lower than the 5-year average, and 38% lower compared to 2016.
“The WHO 2030 Roadmap on NTDs sets attainable targets for the control and elimination of NTDs, but we cannot reach these goals without increased investment in research for safe, simple, and effective medical tools that are adapted for use in the health systems that need them,” said Dr Kavita Singh, director of the South Asia Regional Office of the non-profit medical research organization, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).
The G-FINDER data further revealed that contributions from low-and middle-income countries’ (LMIC) public donors for all diseases also declined, falling by 16% from 2019 to 2020.
NTDs affect more than 1 billion people, most of them living in the world’s poorest communities—where access to water, sanitation and healthcare are lacking. These deadly and debilitating diseases are associated with stigma, discrimination, and social exclusion. However, they are often ignored in the global health agenda and enjoy little funding.
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