With the “ESPEN” project, the World Health Organization has declared war on five Neglected Tropical Diseases. The WHO can now also count on the support of Switzerland: the Swiss Government has agreed to contribute CHF 7,4 million to the project.
More than 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Some of these diseases blind, some disfigure, some disable, some kill. People living in extreme poverty are particularly affected. The WHO describes a total of 20 tropical diseases as “neglected”.
Five of these diseases, mainly caused by parasitic worms, are the focus of the “Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases” (short: ESPEN). Since 2016, the WHO has used ESPEN as a platform to build partnerships between the private (e.g. the pharmaceutical industry) and the public sector. These partnerships can include drug donations and distribution, disease mapping and research.
ESPEN relies on the financial support of foundations, private companies and governments. With a contribution of CHF 7,4 million, Switzerland is now one of ESPEN’s partners. SANTD welcomes Switzerland’s active support for neglected people suffering from neglected diseases.