COP28 | Global partners pledge USD 777M to combat NTDs
In a historic effort to combat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and improve the lives of 1.6 billion people globally, partners pledged a ground-breaking US$ 777 million at the 2023 Reaching the Last Mile (RLM) Forum.
The Forum, hosted by RLM, a global health initiative led by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, was held during the first ever Health Day at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). This global initiative unites efforts with countries endemic for NTDs to address the impact of climate change on these diseases. The pledged funds will finance essential programmes and treatments, support research and innovation, and strengthen front-line health systems and workforces.
A key announcement was the expansion of the RLM Fund (RLMF) from US$ 100 million to US$ 500 million, as the outcome of a partnership between RLM, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other global actors. This expansion aims to eliminate lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis (river blindness) from Africa, increasing the Fund’s reach from seven to 39 countries across Africa and Yemen.
In addition to the new US$ 100 million commitment from both RLM and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, further contributions from various partners, including the Government of Sierra Leone, The Carter Center, Sightsavers, the Children’s Investment Foundation Fund (CIFF), The Helmsley Charitable Trust, the END Fund, and Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company, will enable the RLMF to impact the lives of over 350 million people by 2030.
The Forum also saw new commitments from organizations such as the Anesvad Foundation, CIFF, the United States Agency for International Development, Global Health EDCTP3, the UBS Optimus Foundation, the NALA Foundation, Evidence Action, Helen Keller International and the Fred Hollows Foundation, as well as the governments of Belgium and Germany.
These pledges are crucial in closing the funding gap for the WHO road map targets, which aim to eliminate at least one NTD in 100 countries and reduce by 90% the number of people needing treatment for NTDs, by 2030.