NTDs debilitate and dramatically reduce the quality of life for more than one billion people living in developing countries around the world. As a result, these diseases cause great suffering and obstruct socioeconomic development in these countries. Eliminating these diseases will require effective action and strong sustained global commitment. Effective action can only come from a connected community of individuals in different sectors and from many countries working closely together. The combined voice of this community is essential to sustain global commitment over time. An open international meeting dedicated to eliminating NTDs will serve to nucleate this community and provide a podium from which its voice can be heard.
Due to increased awareness of NTDs worldwide, the number of donors supporting the fight against neglected diseases has increased. Highlights among them include the 2010 US announcement to commit 450 million USD for Neglected Tropical Disease Control, the Department for International Development (DFID) pledge of 50 million GBP to combat NTDs in Africa, and a grant of 34 million USD from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2009 to reduce the global burden of the most prevalent NTDs. Together with other financial and pharmaceutical donations these new contributions are adding great force to ongoing efforts in countries most affected by these diseases. Increased efforts against NTDs have generated a need for an international meeting that is open to any and all individuals involved in these essential efforts. The meeting will create a unifying space for sharing of experience and exchange of ideas between program partners, donors, public health workers, country representatives, innovators, investigators and others from all over the world. The meeting will promote the spirit of an intersectorial and interprogrammatic approach to the complex problem of NTDs as described in the WHO Global Plan to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases 2008-2015.
An international meeting that is open and focused exclusively on NTDs will serve stakeholders, partners, donors, investigators and the global community in several ways. The meeting will provide a shared time to focus attention on the root causes and impact of NTDs, on current efforts to deliver treatments and on the work in progress to develop needed diagnostics and therapeutics. Importantly, the dedicated meeting will also provide an undiluted opportunity to raise awareness about NTDs in the eyes of the public and amongst policy makers. Additionally, the gathering will be an opportunity for partners to convene working groups in conjunction with the meeting.
The ISID-NTD meeting will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 8-10,
2011. The meeting will be open to all and will provide space for dialogue and
communication between individuals and organizations involved in efforts to eliminate
NTDs around the world. The meeting will focus on ideas and actions related to
achieving the goals of the WHO Global Plan to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
2008-2015. It is expected that representatives from affected countries,
donors, international agencies, government organizations, academic institutions,
pharmaceutical industry, NGOs, among others will participate in a dynamic exchange
of ideas and in the formation and maintenance of strategic partnerships dedicated
to this cause.
- To maintain political and civil commitment at all levels to combat NTDs.
- To reinforce the fight against global NTDs and its link to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
- To enable dialogue and exchange between partners working against NTDs.
- To create opportunities for dialogue, analysis and discussion between individuals from all sectors and working in different areas to combat NTDs.
- To promote the creation and sustainability of networks among partners to facilitate integrated programs against NTDs.
The ISID-NTD Program Committee will be responsible for proposing the agenda for the meeting.
The agenda will include:
- Plenary sessions to address issues of common interest to all partners and participants.
- Symposia/round tables for presentation and discussion about key topics relevant to the fight against NTDs. Several general topic areas might include:
- Root causes and prevention of NTDs
- Social and health impacts of NTDs
- Treatment programs: Success and challenges
- Raising public awareness and mobilizing commitment against NTDs
- Tools needed and tools in development to treat NTDs
- Health system development and treatment integration
- Disease-specific challenges
For the meeting to fully succeed, it will be important to identify agencies, organizations, corporations and institutions that can provide financial support for the purpose of enabling participation of some people from affected regions who cannot otherwise attend. In particular, encouraging participation by young investigators and care providers who wish to present their own work at the meeting is a high priority.
Certain organizations may join ISID as "Collaborating Organizations" for the purpose of promoting the success of the NTD meeting. ISID requests that collaborating organizations disseminate information about the meeting and also help ISID to identify financial sponsorship for the meeting to both support the event and to enable individuals from affected countries to attend the meeting.
ISID will create and maintain a web page on the ISID site (ntd.isid.org) to provide complete information about the meeting including contact information, important dates, committees, schedule, program details, registration information and abstract submissions. Following the meeting, ISID will post a meeting archive that will include slide presentations pending permission by presenters.