The human development impact of tuberculosis (TB), malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is significant. These are diseases of poverty and inequality, with the greatest impact on the poorest and most vulnerable people and communities, particularly the 836 million people who currently live in extreme poverty.
TB remains one of the world’s deadliest communicable diseases; in 2015, an estimated 10.4 million people fell ill from the disease, resulting in nearly 2 million TB-related deaths. At the same time, nearly half a million new cases of multi-drug resistant TB also occurred.1
An estimated 3.3 billion people globally were at risk of malaria in 2015, with a total of 212 million cases and 429,000 deaths, 71% of which occurred among children under five years of age.2
A group of 18 NTDs defined by WHO affect populations living in 149 countries worldwide, accounting for one of the highest burdens among all infectious and parasitic diseases. In 2015 alone, over 1.5 billion people were estimated to need preventive chemotherapy for at least one of the five major NTDs.3
Despite the global impact of TB, malaria and NTDs, many existing health technologies (medicines, vaccines and diagnostics) are now outdated and ineffective, and few innovative products have been developed to combat these diseases. In recent years, however, there has been a rise in ‘public–private partnerships’ and ‘product development partnerships’ that have attempted to address this imbalance by focusing investment in developing new health technologies for TB, malaria and NTDs.
While R&D efforts in recent years have begun to show promising results in producing innovative health technologies for TB, malaria and NTDs, there has been little consideration for addressing downstream challenges.
The introduction and scale-up of new health technologies place significant burden on health systems in LMICs, and are often hindered by policy and regulatory barriers, as well as capacity gaps. Such challenges have prevented new and existing health technologies from reaching millions of people in need. For example, in 2015:
The impact of innovation on health outcomes would be insignificant if they do not also effectively reach the communities who need them. Governments, therefore, need to identify and address the specific factors that impede access and delivery, and ensure that appropriate systems are in place and functioning properly to assure the affordability, quality, safety and appropriateness of new health technologies.
In this context, the ADP is supporting countries in building the necessary capacities to overcome these challenges. Read more about the ADP’s approach