The overshadowing of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria is a "tragic oversight" and an ethical and human rights issue, says an article in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
This year's G8 Summit of industrialised countries and the Tokyo International Conference on African Development should push for the creation of a funding mechanism for NTDs, say Peter J. Hotez and colleagues.
Japan's hosting of the two meetings is appropriate because of its strong track record in de-worming as part of the country's post-war development, they say.
The funding mechanism — either as part of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria or a separate fund altogether — is vital if pledges to end poverty are to be fulfilled. They say that "to believe that focusing on the big three is a panacea for improving global health is delusory."
The authors recommend earmarking US$2 billion over five years, for which the poorest countries could apply in parallel with applications to donor pharmaceutical companies for drug donations.
Establishment of such a mechanism is one of the most urgently needed and cost-effective approaches for sustainable poverty reduction, they argue.