WASHINGTON, DC – As RTI International marks 10 years of commitment to the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), its staff members join the U.S. government and the NTD community in not only celebrating progress, but also planning acceleration towards the ambitious goal of a world free from NTDs.
Since 2006, RTI has led the implementation of USAID’s flagship NTD projects. Today, RTI leads U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) largest and most influential NTD project, ENVISION. A global project with reach in more than 79 countries and supporting on-the-ground implementation in 19, ENVISION aims to strengthen ministries of health and their national NTD programs – in part by increasing the reach of mass treatment campaigns to all people at risk. RTI has helped USAID to shape their monitoring and evaluation system, designing the data collection systems used by all USAID-supported countries. Additionally, RTI developed and manages USAID’s online NTD database, facilitating data analysis across countries and over time.
“RTI is proud to work hand in hand with USAID to ensure we realize the vision of a world free from neglected tropical diseases,” said Wayne Holden, Ph.D., president and CEO of RTI. “RTI believes that a better, more equal world for all is only possible if we eliminate and control diseases that thwart the potential of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
In 2006, the USAID launched its NTD Program, the largest public-private partnership in its history. Since that time, USAID has supported the delivery of more than 1.6 billion treatments to prevent and treat seven of the most prevalent NTDs across 25 countries. As a result, more than 743 million are no longer at risk for lymphatic filariasis, a sizeable contribution to the global goal of controlling and eliminating these NTDs by 2020. To date, every $1 invested by USAID in NTDs leverages $26 in pharmaceutical donations for mass treatment campaigns.
The NTD Control Program, which began in 2006, demonstrated that mass drug distributions to prevent NTDs could reach national scale among people at risk -- creating the possibility of disease control and elimination, and accelerating the global movement to reach these goals.
“Our efforts have resulted in the construction of a platform that is integrated into health systems, capable of reaching more and more people every year with preventive treatments for NTDs, and strengthens the work of national NTD programs,” said Lisa Rotondo, ENVISION project director at RTI. “Now the NTD-fighting community stands at a crossroads. We must accelerate our work if we want to achieve ambitious control and elimination goals, while simultaneously building a strong foundation that will sustain progress.”
To drive conversations on the future of NTD progress, RTI is will host the annual meeting of the network of non-governmental development organizations addressing NTDs in Washington D.C. September 29-October 2.
“While significant achievements have been made, we can’t lose momentum now,” said Richard Reithinger, Ph.D., vice president of RTI’s Global Health Division. “RTI will continue to learn and innovate, working in partnership with ministries of health, USAID, and other donors and development organizations working in NTDs. We look forward to the day, coming soon, when we can celebrate NTD control and elimination –and when millions of people will live healthier, more productive lives.”