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End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act Signed into Law with Year-End Spending Package

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — In December, Congress passed and the President signed the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act. This legislation bolsters efforts to combat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), a group of parasitic and bacterial diseases that disable and debilitate, robbing people of their ability to work and attend school.

As a result of the incredible partnership between the Congress, multiple Administrations, non-governmental organizations including RTI International, and the private sector, tremendous progress has been made to eliminate NTDs.

“More 1.4 billion people worldwide are currently infected with at least one of these awful, but preventable diseases which blind, disable, disfigure and sometime kill victims,” said U.S. Representative Chris Smith. “The End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act—which I have championed in the House for years—breaks down silos and integrates critical therapies that USAID is already doing to help those suffering from NTDs.”

Both the Senate and House Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases offered their continued leadership and support for this recent legislation.

“Neglected tropical diseases like dengue fever and hookworm have wreaked havoc in poor communities across the globe,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. “This legislation gets us one step closer to ending these vicious cycles of disease and poverty, by investing in resources that better allow us to assess, monitor and treat these diseases.”

Since 2006, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has delivered over 2.6 billion treatments and leveraged over $22 billion in donated drugs, making it one of the largest and most successful public-private partnerships in history.  To date, USAID has supported 10 countries to eliminate at least one NTD, as officially recognized by the World Health Organization.

 “USAID’s enormously successful NTD program continues to improve health, strengthen health systems, and reduce the threat of these devastating diseases globally. We thank Congress for its leadership in fighting these diseases, improving lives, and increasing opportunity for people around the world,” said James Hunter, RTI’s Director of Government Relations and Co-Chair of the NTD Roundtable.

The End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act calls for continued support of USAID’s NTD program, as well as greater coordination of efforts with other development efforts, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, water and sanitation, and education.