UK hikes tropical disease spending

26 January 2012 08:54

International Development Minister Stephen O'Brien announced Britain is to raise spending by a factor of five to eliminate infectious tropical diseases

International Development Minister Stephen O'Brien announced Britain is to raise spending by a factor of five to eliminate infectious tropical diseases

Britain will raise its spending five times to help the international effort to wipe out infectious tropical diseases, with an increase from £50 million to £245 million.

The rise will take effect from 2011 to 2015 with the extra funding helping to protect more than 140 million people, said the Department for International Development (DFID). The magnitude of the problem emphasises the need for travellers to always ensure they are covered with medical travel insurance.

Funding for the worldwide effort of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) project is part of a move to eliminate such diseases as river blindness and elephantiasis, said International Development Minister Stephen O'Brien.

Each year, NTDs affect a billion people and kill half a million. Now the extra cash will go towards supplying more than four treatments every second for people in the developing world for the next four years.

The extra aid from Britain largely concentrates on lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), onchocerciasis (river blindness), schistosomiasis (bilharzia) and dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm).

A London conference on January 30 will see the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation join forces with other bodies such as governments and NGOs in making commitments to tackle NTDs.

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