DNDi statements at the 146th session of the WHO Executive Board:
Agenda Item 13: Neglected tropical diseases
DNDi welcomes the development of the NTD Roadmap, key to guide progress towards the SDG target of eliminating NTDs as a public health threat by 2030.
We particularly welcome the inclusion of all 20 diseases on the WHO NTD list, including those for which there are few or no adequate tools to test and treat. These present a distinct challenge, but one which can be tackled by advancing an innovation agenda, which includes new medical tools, advocacy, and new financing strategies for sustainable access.
It is critical that Member States who share the burden of NTDs fully exploit their individual and collective innovation potential and maximize the impact of multilateral support.
Collaborative, open and integrated approaches to R&D – by and with affected communities – are a proven pathway for accelerating innovation and improving outcomes for patients. Developing new, context-sensitive tools to diagnose and treat NTDs and ensuring their integration into the essential package of care in affected countries is a prerequisite for strengthening health systems and delivering quality universal health coverage that leaves no one behind.
Agenda Item 22.1: WHO reform – Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies
DNDi highly values and greatly benefits from its interaction with Member States through WHO governance mechanisms. The legitimacy and effectiveness of global health policy derives from inclusion. To respond to global health challenges, input from a full range of actors representing Member States’ geographical and socio-economic diversity must be brought to bear. Both governments and civil society must be able to express diverse views in order to identify areas of contention and consensus.
Efforts to strengthen engagement with non-State actors should prioritize the need to retain a genuine plurality of views. Unlike disease- or issue-specific initiatives, a challenge for the only global multilateral health forum is that there are few existing or necessarily natural constituencies. As Member States themselves will know, constituency building is a long and fraught process that comes with the inherent risks of privileging the loudest and the largest, and silencing the least powerful and most vulnerable.
Investment in preparation and dialogue to shape future modalities for engagement is therefore a prerequisite for reform. Broad constituency building should be formally integrated into governance processes and facilitated through regional meetings in all six WHO regions. We share the view that additional, inclusive opportunities should be developed, including through online fora.