Laura Westcott is on Uniting to Combat NTDs’ Board, occupying one of the donor seats reserved for key investors into neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) programmes. Laura is the Diseases of Poverty Hub Lead at the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). In this important role she is ultimately responsible for the delivery of the UK’s Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of NTDs (ASCEND) programme, which delivers vital work across five diseases and 25 countries in Africa and South Asia. She also provides oversight of the FCDO’s funding to the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme and other health services programmes.

Laura has over 15 years’ experience of working for national government, with over a decade of this time focused on international development. She is committed to improving the health of the most marginalised and has played a key role in driving the FCDO’s approach to health systems strengthening, sustainability and the ‘leave no one behind’ agenda in NTD programmes.

Prior to her current position, Laura has held several roles at the FCDO (formerly the Department for International Development), including the Deputy Team Leader of the Health Services Team and the Statistician and Deputy Team Leader for the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Policy Team. She is an accredited statistician and has studied differential equation models for the spread of infectious diseases.

Laura holds a Master of Public Policy and Management from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Paisley and a Batchelors degree in Mathematics, Statistics and Accounting from the University of Strathclyde.