By focusing on key diseases that hamper sustainable development and by taking an integrated, health systems based approach to trengthening the access and delivery value chain, the ADP project exemplifies the SDG approach to health and development.
The human development impact of TB, malaria and NTDs is significant. These are diseases of poverty and inequality, disproportionately affecting the 836 million people who live below the US$1.25 per day extreme poverty line
TB remains one of the world’s deadliest communicable diseases; in 2014, an estimated 9.6 million people developed, and 1.5 million died from, TB. In the same year, an estimated 3.3 billion people globally were at risk of malaria, with a total of 214 million cases and 438,000 deaths. Malaria is the leading cause of death among children under five years of age in sub-Saharan Africa.
NTDs have significant impact across multiple development sectors, including water and sanitation, nutrition, maternal and child health, education, and global and national economic output – therefore, on long-term sustainable development. In 2014, 1.7 billion people in 186 countries required preventive chemotherapy for at least one NTD, accounting for a disease burden of at least 26 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
Despite their impact, few new health technologies have been developed to combat these diseases. For example, during 2000–2011, only 37 (4 percent) of the 850 new therapeutic products registered were for neglected diseases, and only four new chemical entities (1 percent) of the 336 approved during the same period were for neglected diseases.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly calls for the elimination of TB, malaria and NTDs as a development priority. Under SDG 3, the goal to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, target 3.3 aims to “end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases” by the year 2030. The SDGs also advocate a broad, systemic approach to tackling these diseases, underlining the importance for health systems strengthening and universal health coverage (UHC). Target 3.8 aims to, “achieve UHC, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”.
The Government of Japan has led the way in adopting new approaches to address these deficiencies in research and development, and access to health technologies for TB, malaria and NTDs. A twin-pronged approach has been adopted to ensure the greatest impact; while the GHIT Fund focuses on promoting innovation and research through the development of new health technologies for TB, malaria and NTDs, the ADP complements and supports the GHIT Fund through the building of capacities in LMICs to enable and expand access and delivery of these new health technologies to populations in need.
The SDGs align closely with the Government of Japan’s new global health strategy “Basic Design for Peace and Health”, which emphasizes the need for better health as an indispensable component of human and social development. It commits to assisting LMICs to strengthen health systems, security and resilience, and deliver UHC by ensuring affordable access to basic health services for all.
The ADP exemplifies the vision of the SDGs and the Government of Japan’s global health strategy. It not only targets the most devastating diseases – TB, malaria and NTDs – afflicting LMICs, but it does so by helping to build long-term capacity in LMICs’ health systems to access and deliver essential new health technologies. It works along the entire access and delivery value chain – from ensuring an enabling policy and regulatory environment and removing bottlenecks and barriers to access, to ensuring that supply chains reach all segments of the population, including the most vulnerable and those in remote locations.