This support for operational research for NTDs could not be timelier: it coincides with the historic vote on 28 January 2013 by WHO’s Executive Board recommending that the World Health Assembly in May adopt a comprehensive resolution for all 17 neglected tropical diseases. We are convinced the funding will help strengthen operational research, increase efficiencies and cost-effectiveness, and accelerate interventions towards achieving the targets set by the World Health Assembly, the WHO Roadmap, and the London Declaration.
Dr. Lorenzo Savioli, Director of the Department of Control of NTDs at WHO
Founded in 2013, the NTD-SC evolved from the earlier (2001) Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) Support Center and is supported principally by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), with additional support from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Their funding enables the Center to work together with the NTD community in addressing priority research needs for NTDs to guide decision-making and optimize disease surveillance.
The Center and its collaborators play a key role in perpetuating the global momentum to control or eliminate NTDs that accelerated so dramatically following expanded commitments by partners endorsing the London Declaration in 2012. This Declaration pledges to control and eliminate suffering due to NTDs by 2020 and is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) “Roadmap for NTDs,” a plan detailing specific goals for these targeted diseases.
By building on existing research activities the NTD-SC takes advantage of synergies to achieve rapid progress in the response to new technical challenges as they arise. Through a highly collaborative project structure – which includes the convening of a “Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs” (COR-NTD) – NTD researchers can create a forum where operational needs can be identified, research work can be undertaken together, and technical advances made to maximize the impact of national programs targeting NTDs.