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RTI International Commits to the Next Decade in the Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a new road map for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) 2021-2030, which outlines global targets to prevent, control, eliminate, and eradicate a diverse set of 20 NTDs over the next decade. NTDs affect more than one billion of the world’s poorest and most neglected people. RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, is proud to join health ministries, pharmaceutical companies, donors and non-governmental organizations in committing to this road map. This renewed commitment comes as the NTD community prepares to recognize World NTD Day on January 30.

The new WHO road map, which was drafted in consultation with health ministries, country stakeholders, donors and disease experts, highlights critical gaps and actions required to reach the 2030 targets for NTDs. It emphasizes the importance of sustainable NTD programming and collaboration with other sectors within and beyond health. This has become even more crucial amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

WHO launched a complementary document, the NTD Sustainability Framework for Action, alongside the new road map. RTI International, through the USAID’s Act to End Neglected Tropical Diseases I East program, served as a technical lead for the framework in collaboration with WHO. The Sustainability Framework for Action will guide sustainability efforts for NTD programming at both the global and country level, helping stakeholders detect sustainability gaps in functions and services and develop priority actions to address these gaps.

“We were pleased to support WHO in the development of this important guidance document, including leading a consultation with member states and partners to ensure sustainability is a cornerstone to the next decade of efforts against NTDs,” said Richard Killian, Health Systems Strengthening Lead at RTI International. “By mainstreaming NTD programming into national health systems, we can help strengthen country ownership of NTD control and elimination and build upon the incredible progress and global partnerships to date.”

In addition to supporting sustainability at the global level, Act to End NTDs | East is also working with several countries to develop their national sustainability strategies and plans for NTDs that align with global guidance.

Since 2010 alone, 500 million fewer people require interventions against NTDs, and 40 countries have eliminated at least one NTD. Results are thanks to a coordinated global effort led by WHO and ministries of health, with unprecedented support from pharmaceutical companies and a variety of private and multilateral donors, such as USAID.

RTI has supported this work for 15 years, distributing more than 2.1 billion NTD treatments through USAID’s ENVISION and NTD Control programs, and supporting Cambodia, Togo, Vietnam, Ghana, Laos and Nepal to eliminate at least one NTD. This continues under Act to End NTDs| East, with an increased focus on cross-sectoral partnerships, health systems strengthening and support to help governments increase ownership and domestic resources for NTDs.

To learn more about RTI’s work in NTDs, visit: https://www.rti.org/focus-area/neglected-tropical-diseases