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World Health Organization and partners unveil new coordinated approach to treat millions suffering from neglected tropical diseases

Additional quotes from partners

Dr James Mwanzia, Director, Division of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control, WHO African Regional Office, Harare, Zimbabwe
"The next step will be to adapt the manual to the specific needs of countries. This will enable them to implement the integrated WHO strategy using the strengths of their public health systems to the benefit of those communities affected by neglected tropical diseases."

Dr Regina Rabinovich, Director of Infectious Diseases, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, USA
"We applaud WHO's leadership in the fight against neglected tropical diseases. We look forward to working with WHO and other partners to demonstrate the important role that preventive chemotherapy can play in bringing these terrible diseases under control."

Dr Uche Amazigo, Director, African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), Burkina Faso
"We need a concerted, coordinated action and in partnership to help the poorest populations overcome the burden of the neglected diseases. The continuous existence of the NTDs, for which control strategies, tools and drugs for large-scale use exist, is evidence of the failure of public health to break the barriers. Empowering communities, building strong partnerships and strengthening the health systems for integrated disease control to meet the Millennium Development Goals, are necessary elements for our joint efforts to succeed."

Dr J.-P. Garnier, Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline, London, United Kingdom
"GlaxoSmithKline is proud to play our part in tackling neglected tropical diseases, particularly through our donation of albendazole for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis. We welcome the WHO guidelines which will help countries combine different disease interventions using several medicines to make a greater impact on the health of poor people in the developing world."

Dr Jacob Kumaresan, President, International Trachoma Initiative, New York, USA
"Unfortunately, these neglected tropical diseases affect the poorest populations in the world, causing unnecessary suffering and reducing productivity and development. By working together to ensure there is synergy in our interventions, we can achieve greater coverage more rapidly, thereby improving their health and helping to alleviate poverty."

Professor David Molyneux, Director, Lymphatic Filariasis Support Centre, Liverpool, United Kingdom
"WHO is to be congratulated on producing such a relevant, timely, well presented and globally-relevant document. Addressing the practical issues of helminth chemotherapy, this most comprehensive text provides those responsible in endemic countries with the vital information required to plan their programmes. WHO and its collaborators have elegantly translated theory into practice thereby enabling countries to implement programmes which directly address the Millennium Development Goals in a cost effective way."

Dr Mark L. Eberhard, Director, Division of Parasitic Diseases , Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA, USA
"A critical first step in controlling infectious diseases is the development of a cohesive and comprehensive set of guidelines - turning ideas into reality in a practical way. WHO has once again masterfully crafted such a document that will serve as the framework and strategy around which the global community can focus efforts on the control of neglected tropical diseases, some of the most common and debilitating, yet controllable, conditions afflicting major populations of the world."

Professor Alan Fenwick, Director, USAID NTD Project, Washington, D.C., USA
"These guidelines are exactly what is needed to assist the control of neglected tropical diseases. As both the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the USAID have recently increased their support for control and other donors are coming on board, it is essential that strategies for control are based on sound evidence-based knowledge, and these guidelines provide a strong foundation for developing appropriate strategies."

Professor Peter Hotez, Professor and Chairman, Dept. of Microbiology and Tropical Medicine, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA
"The new WHO guidelines represent an important step in the integration of neglected tropical disease control worldwide. This new document provides an urgently needed blueprint for moving forward on a global effort to address the Millennium Development Goals."

Dr Ralph H. Henderson, Decatur, GA, USA (formerly Assistant Director-General, Communicable Diseases, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland)
"This Manual is a breakthrough in the coordination of mass treatment programmes against helminths. It provides a critical first step in combining treatment regimens for diseases which, although different in themselves, require common resources and delivery strategies for control or elimination. It now needs to be translated into full-scale national programmes which can reap the full benefits of the savings which coordination can bring."

Dr B. Thylefors, Director, Mectizan® Donation Program, Decatur, GA, USA
"This WHO manual will be an important tool for expanding appropriate combinations of anthelminthic chemotherapy through community-directed treatment, as is already being successfully implemented for onchocerciasis and LF in African countries. The manual will also stimulate the gaining of all needed operational experience to deliver such new combinations of mass chemotherapy through safe and effective interventions in different settings."

Dr Ousmane Bangoura, Coordinator, Onchocerciasis (River blindness) Coordination Unit, World Bank Africa Region, Washington, D.C., USA
"Neglected tropical diseases are global public goods. The intensification of their control is consistent with the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the international community to alleviate poverty and reduce human suffering. The costs entailed are expected to be limited because of large scale drug donations and cost-effective implementation measures. The development impact will be important through improved quality of life and increased worker productivity and contribute to economic growth. The new manual on preventive chemotherapy in human helminthiasis is timely. It will help greatly health professionals, programme managers, donors and governments of endemic countries in their approach of the diseases targeted and integration."

Dr Eric A. Ottesen, Director, Lymphatic Filariasis Support Center, The Task Force for Child Survival and Development, Decatur, GA, USA
"What a timely document! Helminth infections, pervasive and debilitating in their own right, exacerbate co-endemic killer diseases and perpetuate cycles of poverty throughout the developing world. Yet today, the availability of effective drugs at zero or low cost – through extraordinary private-sector generosity – makes these diseases largely, or even completely, preventable. To take advantage of this unique opportunity; however, a practical, how-to blueprint was needed to guide in-country deployment of a new health strategy based on multi-disease preventive chemotherapy. This WHO manual not only provides such practical guidelines, but also explains the rationale and evidence-base underlying the new strategy with a clarity guaranteed to achieve broad consensus and commitment among both the public health community and the public itself."

Dr Nana A. Y. Twum-Danso, Acting Director, Mebendazole Donation Initiative, Task Force for Child Survival and Development, Decatur, GA, USA
"This WHO manual will surely lead the way in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of mass drug administration programmes for these important but often neglected diseases. However, the challenge for us all will be in ensuring that the non-drug components of the programmes, such as improvements in sanitation for the control of soil-transmitted helminth infections, are not neglected.