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By Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director, DNDi

Last year saw an important cornerstone laid in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and one that highlighted the need to keep NTD research and development (R&D) on the global public health agenda. In January 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched its NTD strategy, ‘Accelerating Work to Overcome the Global Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Roadmap for Implementation’, which set forth specific, time-bound targets for the prevention, control, elimination, or eradication of the 17 WHO-defined NTDs by 2020. The goals were set high, and key actors came together to commit to these goals at the ‘Uniting to Combat NTDs’ meeting in London in January 2012.

Upcoming events

15-19 April 2013
Chagas Week – Neglected Diseases, Cochabamba, Bolivia

This gathering of Chagas disease experts in Bolivia, ‘Chagas Week’, is comprised of several events including the COHEMI Symposium on NTDs and Migration, an International Symposium on Chagas Disease, the Chagas Disease Clinical Research Platform Meeting, and the launch of the Chagas Disease Global Coalition. DNDi Latin America is co-organizing this important series of events with key partners.

DNDi Latin America Receives the 2013 Carlos Slim Health Award

The Carlos Slim Health Institute granted its annual Health Award, including a USD 100,000 prize, to DNDi Latin America for 10 years of exceptional work and achievements in research and development (R&D) to deliver new treatments for neglected patients in the region.
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Registration of Paromomycin in Kenya

On 26 February 2013, registration of paromomycin (PM) was granted in Kenya. PM is also listed in Kenya’s national guidelines for kala azar as it is a key component of the WHO-recommended first-line kala azar treatment in East Africa, SSG&PM combination therapy. This milestone is essential to facilitating patient access to this important treatment in the country.

BBVA Foundation Award for Development Cooperation to DNDi

The BBVA Foundation of Spain granted its annual prestigious ‘Frontiers of Knowledge and Culture Award’ to DNDi under the category of Development Cooperation, with a prize of EUR 400,000. MSF Spain nominated DNDi for the award.

Three New DNDi-Authored Scientific Publications

An article on the partnerships that led to the development of the antimalarial ASMQ, and two articles on Chagas disease on lead optimization efforts for new drug compounds and on results of a biomarkers study, were published in scientific journals.

Voices for Neglected Diseases

Nancy Chemlou, a mother of two sons who had kala azar, tells of how she and her community in West Pokot, Kenya, evolved from seeking traditional medicines that worsened the condition of patients with kala azar, to seeking treatment in the Kimalel District Hospital, where now the WHO recommended treatment, SSG&PM, is given to patients with the disease.

US Institute of Medicine Report Supports Global R&D Framework

Following the 2012 WHO-CEWG report on R&D financing and coordination for the health needs of developing countries, the US government sought an independent, non-governmental perspective on mechanisms to strengthen R&D for developing countries. This discussion paper, co-authored by Rachel Cohen, Regional Executive Director, DNDi North America, may help inform the US position in further World Health Assembly discussions.