Decatur, GA — June 17, 2019 — Today, the Secretariat of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) announced new funding for research efforts to support neglected tropical disease (NTD) programs. The five-year, $29.7 million grant extension from USAID will support research to remove barriers in addressing the ambitious goals set out by the World Health Organization (WHO) to control and eliminate five NTDs.
“We’re getting closer and closer to ending NTDs as we once knew them,” said Patrick Lammie, Director the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, which serves as COR-NTD Secretariat. “This investment from USAID will galvanize the NTD community to overcome some of the final barriers to that goal.”
The grant extension to COR-NTD will support continued operational research to address programmatic barriers; the annual COR-NTD meeting, which brings together program implementers and researchers; and the African Researchers’ Small Grants Program, which builds research capacity among African scientists. Additionally, the extension will provide an expanded investment in innovative diagnostic strategies for NTDs, as well as new funds to enhance the use of data to support program decision making.
Accelerating NTD Elimination
In 2012, WHO set forth a set of targets for NTDs in its 2020 Roadmap on NTDs. These bold goals included the elimination lymphatic filariasis and trachoma by 2020, the elimination of onchocerciasis by 2025 in select countries, and the sustained control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis by 2020. For these diseases, WHO recommends preventive therapy – delivered by NTD programs – and, since 2012, 400 million people no longer need one or more of these treatments.
A Combined and Complementary Effort
Since 2014, COR-NTD has utilized funds from USAID – with additional funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK aid from the British government – to support research that has generated solutions to operational issues faced by national programs in their fight against NTDs. This multi-stakeholder partnership has supported more than 200 studies led by more than 100 international partners in 55 countries. Many outputs of these studies – led by research partners and nested in ministries of health – have gained endorsement by WHO.
“Efforts to eliminate NTDs are led by the countries where they are endemic,” said Lammie. “Operational research provides a catalyst to the Ministries of Health in those countries as they approach WHO’s ambitious targets for 2020 and move closer to an even more ambitious vision for 2030.”
The Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) is a group of researchers, program implementers and their supporters with the shared goal of optimizing NTD control and elimination. Supported by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and UK aid from the British government, the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center at the Task Force for Global Health serves as the Coalition Secretariat. The aim of COR-NTD is to create new opportunities and synergies within the NTD operational research community that align with national NTD program needs and provide an evidence base for the global guidelines advanced by WHO. Learn more at http://www.ntdsupport.org/cor-ntd.
For a list of USAID-supported operational research projects, click here.
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