This is an opinion piece written by Dr Moeti, WHO AFRO regional director. The full article is available on Devex.

Neglected tropical diseases are a group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases that affect roughly 1.58 billion people worldwide, including an estimated 875 million children. More than 600 million of Africa’s 1.1 billion people are at risk of NTDs. With impact numbers like these, unless and until we eliminate NTDs, we cannot say that we have achieved universal access to health.

Thanks to an innovative public-private partnership, we’ve seen remarkable progress against NTDs.

In an unprecedented move, 13 of the largest pharmaceutical companies have pulled together under the auspices of the CEO Roundtable and are executing the largest drug donation in history. These companies have committed to donate enough drugs to completely eliminate 10 of the highest impact NTDs. Thus far, these companies have contributed more than $17.8 billion in donations.

In a critical move to maximize the impact of this historic drug donation, last year the World Health Organization launched the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases, or ESPEN, a five-year project designed to help all countries on the continent reach their elimination goals by 2030. ESPEN will ensure that all countries are in a position to receive and effectively distribute millions of donated drugs.

Read the full article on Devex.