Financial Times: Let us focus on these significant killer diseases in developing nations
September 22, 2005
by Jeremiah Norris
Sir, Public-private partnerships on the World Health Organisation's10 neglected diseases are an inspiring example of collaboration to achieve significant breakthroughs in science and medicine ("An antidote to neglected diseases", September 16).
With the exceptions of malaria and tuberculosis, WHO's 2002 World Health Report shows only a 0.1 per cent mortality rate for trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis, and zero for the remaining six diseases.
Billions of dollars have been invested on malaria research since the 1940s, mainly by the US and UK, and effective drugs for TB have been available for at least the past 60 years.
This same report shows a mortality rate of 30 per cent for cardiovascular diseases and 13 per cent for cancers, particularly cervical and breast cancers. According to WHO, the arc of both diseases is beginning to ascend disproportionately upon developing nations.
WHO, the World Bank, and the Harvard School of Public Health concluded in a landmark study on the global burden of disease that "adults under the age of 70 in Sub-Saharan Africa today face a higher probability of death from a non-communicable disease than adults of the same age in the established market economies".
Public-private partnerships need to be expanded to include these significant killers in developing countries before they fall into the category of "neglected diseases".
Jeremiah Norris is a Senior Fellow and Director of Hudson Institute's Center for Science in Public Policy. He specializes in public-private partnerships in development assistance, trade and development, and global AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria policies.