Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) have always been a source of concern in Kerala. Dr. K. N. Panicker, Professor Emeritus, Department of Community Medicine, Amrita School of Medicine, Kochi and Chairman of Indian Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases- An Amrita Initiative, represented the Asian continent at an international gathering, “Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases”, in London, recently.This meeting was convened as part of an initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. Panicker said, “Neglected tropical diseases are given due attention by developed countries. Developing countries are in the forefront for its control in endemic countries in Asia and Africa.” This high level meeting included a group of experts from the United States, UK, Germany, Japan and Canada coming together under one umbrella. From the endemic countries, there were two Nigerian experts from Africa and Dr. Panicker from Asia.
Two areas were focused upon at the gathering: increasing current contributions to NTD programs and the development of a strategy that could be used in endemic countries. This planning meeting brought together key partners both at the national and international level to address this issue to share knowledge, agree on a strategy, assign roles and responsibilities and work together to combat NTDs globally.