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MSF Neglected Diseases

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This is the main MSF page on their campaign against ninst ne nneeglected neglected neglected diseases


MSF are addressing access to withdrawn or obsolete treatments and to research into tropical diseases.

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Every year, around 15 million people world-wide die from an infectious disease.


An estimated 97% of deaths from infectious diseases occur in developing countries.


Infectious diseases are responsible for more than half of all deaths in sub-Saharan Africa


Over 75% of the world's population live in developing countries but they account for only 8% of the pharmaceutical sales world-wide.


One-third of the world's population lacks access to essential drugs.


In the most impoverished parts of Africa and Asia this figure is over 50%.


In many developing countries, the monthly cost of antiretroviral drugs to keep AIDS patients alive is 30 times higher than the average monthly income.


Out of the 1,223 drugs developed since 1975, only 13 are for the treatment of tropical diseases.


Nobel funds allocated
to neglected diseases

webplaced: October 10, 2000


When MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, it announced that the money would go towards raising awareness of and fighting against neglected diseases.

A "Neglected Diseases Fund" was established and MSF programmes were invited to submit proposals for projects to be supported by the fund. Several of these were selected on the basis of their potential for improving access to essential drugs for populations in danger.

One year later, the Access to Essential Medicines Campaign is a fundamental aspect of MSF and has been successful in drawing attention to one of the fundamental causes of death in developing countries - limited access to essential, life saving drugs.

However the development of the campaign has been diverse and multi-faceted. MSF has identified five key diseases that are considered neglected, either as a disease where research and development is ongoing or where access to the life-saving drugs is limited due to cost.

The Neglected Diseases
These diseases are:

bullet tuberculosis,
bullet sleeping sickness
bullet leishmaniasis
bullet malaria  
bullet  AIDS.
(links lead to specific information on each disease)
1999 Nobel Peace prize money goes to research for treating diseases of the poor
MSF announces how the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize money, which was used to set up a Neglected Disease Fund, has been allocated.
bulletMSF press release: October 10, 2000 -
bulletWorldwide projects for the MSF neglected disease fund

The need for development of new drugs
Drug resistance is spreading across the globe. The problem is not new but it has worsened considerably over the last decade. The result is that a new medicine is only effective for a limited length of time before the microbe develops resistance to the drug that is rendered ineffective. Strains of malaria and tuberculosis exist that are resistant to almost all drugs. It is vital that research and development efforts are made to find new drugs to replace those made ineffective by drug-resistance. 


Lack of access to esential drugs

The MSF campaign
MSF is conducting an international campaign to ensure that disadvantaged populations have access to essential medicines.

bulletThe role of Médecins Sans Frontières


MSF commitment to neglected diseases
declared in the Nobel Peace Prise speech
MSF's commitment to Access to Essential Medicines was first detailed in the 199 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

bulletExcerpt from the 1999
Nobel Prize speech


The pillars of Access to Essential Medicines
Three factors play a dominant role in preventing access to essential medicines in developing countries:

bulletMSF's fight to improve access to essential medicines


Success for the Access Campaign
The MSF campaign has been able to raise awareness about the lack of access - pharmaceutical companies, policy-makers and the media have clearly begun to pay attention to the problem.

bulletMSF successes improving
access to essential medicines


All material on this site is copyright MSF and may only be used by other publications or websites
with express permission from the International website



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updated    13-Dez-09 V1.4 -