$777 MILLION IN NEW FINANCING ANNOUNCED AT THE REACHING THE LAST MILE FORUM TO BEAT NTDs
Dubai, UAE, 3 December 2023 – Today donors came together to announce $777 million in new financing for NTDs at the Reaching the Last Mile Forum. This included CIFF’s $50 million commitment to eliminate two of the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa.
This year, the RLM forum took place as part of the COP summit, reflecting the inextricable link between health and climate change, and the impact of rising temperatures, increasing rainfall and flooding on the spread of numerous human diseases, including NTDs.
During the RLM forum, Sir Chris Hohn announced that we intend to commit $50 million to Phase II of the Reaching the Last Mile (RLM) Fund for the elimination of two NTDs. This will be comprised of his personal commitment as well as CIFF’s. This is on top of the $160 million CIFF has already invested in NTDS. This investment will help further efforts to end the transmission of river blindness (onchocerciasis) by or before 2030 and, where co-endemic, eliminate lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem across Africa.
This commitment represents CIFF’s unwavering dedication to putting an end to these diseases through support for mapping and surveys to identify disease hot spots, administration of treatments, surveillance to understand where transmission has stopped, and validating elimination across 35 African countries.
Worldwide, over a billion people are affected by NTDs; 40% of those affected are living in Africa and the majority of those are children, who make up 60% of global NTD cases. The impact of these diseases can be profound, with those affected experiencing scarring, chronic pain, malnutrition, cognitive impairment, stunted growth, social stigma, as well as the inability to attend school.
While effective treatment methods are available, communities threatened by these NTDs are often challenging to reach with preventative medicine. At the same time, limited access to essential clinical care means that NTD symptoms can go untreated, causing devastating disabilities.
Through this investment, it is anticipated that 23 of the 31 total countries to be supported could stop treatment for river blindness by 2030, leading to 85% reduction in treatments needed for river blindness in some countries. This is equivalent to 196M fewer treatments required and 75M people no longer requiring treatment for river blindness by 2027. In addition, 35 countries in Africa, and Yemen, could stop treatment entirely for lymphatic filariasis by 2030 and achieve elimination.
Eliminating NTDs is crucial, now more than ever, with the climate crisis driving the emergence and re-emergence of multiple NTDs, particularly in vulnerable communities. NTDs are heavily influenced by climatic factors such as temperature, rainfall, humidity, and extreme weather events. Even small climatic changes can significantly increase disease distribution and transmission.
“It is unacceptable that millions of children suffer from neglected tropical diseases even though both preventative drugs and treatment are available at low cost. The climate crisis will only increase the burden of these diseases. Our commitment of $50 million will build on progress already made and help achieve the elimination of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis once and for all – breaking the brutal cycle of suffering and poverty.” – Chris Hohn, Founder and Chair, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.