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Viewpoints

Sylvia GoldSilvia Gold, President, Mundo Sano Foundation
Global Alliance for the Treatment of Chagas Disease: Thinking About the Patients
[April 2014]
American Trypanosomiasis, more commonly known as Chagas disease, no longer reflects the geographical scope of the disease. Today, Chagas disease affects people around the world. It is hard to imagine that a disease, discovered over a century ago, which today can be easily diagnosed and for which effective treatment exists, continues to be a problem of severe health impact.

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Bernard Pécoul Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director, DNDi
Time for a Reality Check for Neglected Diseases
[February 2014]

The field of neglected disease R&D today is experiencing what could be characterized as a phase of shifting sands: after long inaction for decades, we are now experiencing both remarkable advances and rude set-backs. The innovative ideas, incentives, and R&D partnerships, such as DNDi, that emerged over the last decade are right at the nexus of these movements – of governments, industry, philanthropy, and civil society, among others – and they thus impact directly on our work. They provide a constant reality check that reminds us of just how fragile the field of not-for-profit drug development for neglected diseases is, be it in times of advances or in times of set-backs. We have to take this seriously into account and feed our reflections, debates, and efforts to secure the sustainability of the environment in which we work to solve, in the long term, the problems of millions of patients.

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Jean-François AlesandriniJean-François Alesandrini, Fundraising & Advocacy Director
WHO R&D ‘Demonstration Projects’: A Member State-driven step towards a sustainable global framework for neglected disease R&D
[November 2013]
WHO Member States and experts, after weeks of consultations, are in the process of selecting ‘demonstration projects’ to address the unmet medical needs of developing countries. The overall objective of this process is to evaluate and assess new innovative mechanisms to coordinate and fund public health research and development (R&D).

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Eric StobbaertsEric Stobbaerts, Head of DNDi Latin America
The Role of Neglected Disease-Endemic, Emerging-Economy Countries in Neglected Disease R&D: Latin America on the Rise
[September 2013]
As DNDi marks its 10 years of existence, the time is ripe to assess the achievements and difficulties experienced in order to move into a new decade with new approaches. For Latin America, in particular, this period is unique, even transformative, as it is marked by unprecedented economic and social strengthening of the region. This growth brings with it the crucial role of Latin America’s public and private sectors in contributing meaningfully to the neglected disease research and development landscape. The activities of DNDi Latin America are focused on contributing to this process and have expanded with increasing opportunities to partner with ministries of health and national control programmes, but also other non-governmental and private-sector actors, to address the needs of patients suffering from neglected tropical diseases endemic in the region.

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Monique WasunnaMonique Wasunna, Head of DNDi Africa
African Dynamics to Tackle Neglected Diseases
[July 2013]
As Head of DNDi Africa, I was honored to bear witness to the special event recently co-hosted in Nairobi by DNDi and the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) to celebrate a decade of Research & Development (R&D) for Neglected Diseases (ND) in Africa. Ten years ago, about 70 participants met in Nairobi to discuss the first steps of what was to lead to 10 years of experiences, learning, and first successes of DNDi in Africa. On June 4th and 5th, we were more than 430 committed and passionate researchers, scientists, decision-makers, and donors to explore the opportunities and remaining challenges for R&D for neglected diseases in Africa. The presence of representatives from 33 countries, of which 21 African countries, and the keen interest of African and international media for the issues we covered is, in itself, an achievement for those who fight to place and keep neglected diseases on national and international public health agendas. 

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Bernard Pécoul Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director, DNDi
Connect to Fight Neglect
A Decade of Medical Innovations for Neglected Patients

[May 2013]
A decade ago, research and development (R&D) for neglected diseases was at a standstill. At the time, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was experiencing firsthand in the field what it meant to be unable to treat patients with neglected diseases, because treatments did not exist or were inadequate. So MSF decided to commit its 1999 Nobel Peace Prize money to R&D for neglected diseases and, with six key public health partners worldwide – MSF, the Indian Council of Medical Research, Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, Institut Pasteur in France, and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO/TDR) – DNDi was launched in 2003.

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Bernard Pécoul Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director, DNDi
Now is not the time to retreat from the fight against NTDs
[March 2013]
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. At this meeting, major private, public, international, and non-governmental partners, including DNDi, aligned their efforts to support the WHO roadmap and accelerate progress toward eliminating or controlling 10 of the 17 NTDs by 2020 as put forth in the resulting ‘London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases’.

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Dr Florent Mbo Kuikumbi, provincial coordinating physician of North Bandundu for the National Human African Trypanosomiasis Control Programme (DRC)
Advocacy for sustainable elimination strategy for sleeping sickness
(December 2012)
Sleeping sickness has several facets. We have to cover all of the endemic areas with surveillance efforts, otherwise there will always be pockets than can later lead to epidemics. Today, for example, in Bandundu Province in the DRC, we can only say we are controlling the disease, not eliminating it. We have to be able to cover all of the disease pockets and follow them for some time.

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Nathalie Strub-Wourgaft, Medical Director, DNDi
Regulatory Harmonization in Developing Countries Needed to Speed up Neglected Patients' Access to New Drugs
[October 2012]
The need for regulatory harmonization (i.e. either allowing for centralized drug registration in multiple countries as one single approval, or mutual recognition which entails expediting registration in additional countries once a drug has been registered in a primary country with sufficient regulatory  capacities) in order to reduce the duplication of research efforts, use resources more efficiently, and especially to speed up the process to reach patients, was identified decades ago in Europe.

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