Global Health Asia-Pacific March 2022 March 2022 - Page 57

Changing priorities during and after COVID-19 has meant that the resources allocated to neglected tropical diseases may be shifted to other diseases and health services .
Third , a significant amount of funding for neglected tropical disease control programmes comes from international development partners and foreign governments . Post-COVID-19 economic contraction in their economies and shifts in funding priorities are threatening the gains made in controlling neglected tropical diseases . For example , the UK recently withdrew over £ 150 million of funding to neglected tropical disease programmes as part of cuts to the country ’ s aid budget . This wiped out a third of donor funding for tackling neglected tropical diseases , with an impact on treatments to 250 million people and as many as 180,000 surgeries to prevent disabilities .
Long term consequences Continued neglect of these diseases has dire consequences . Those affected continue to suffer the devastating diseases , associated health inequities and cycles of poverty . The effects of these diseases are pervasive and wide-ranging .
As long as neglected tropical diseases are a huge burden on health systems in endemic countries , these countries will continue to haemorrhage resources , finances and lives to these diseases . This will further weaken their health systems , compromising their ability for timely surveillance , detection and containment of the next epidemic . From the Global Health Security Agenda , we know that weakened health systems anywhere in the world compromise health security globally . Local health security is the foundation for global health security , as COVID-19 has amply demonstrated .
The opportunity to put global attention back on neglected tropical diseases will come later this year when the London Declaration is superseded by the Kigali Declaration . This high-level political declaration , led by Rwanda and Nigeria , aims to mobilise political will and secure commitments to achieve Sustainable Development Goals targets for these diseases .
It is important to remember that controlling neglected tropical diseases is in the best interest of all countries – those where the diseases are endemic and those where they are not . n
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