Increased Focus on Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
An Informal Chat with the Parliamentary State Secretary from the BMZ
Berlin, 30 January 2019 – As part of an informal chat hosted by the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases in collaboration with the Parliamentarian Board to Fight NTDs and Strengthen Health Systems, Dr Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), emphasized the federal government's strong commitment to global health policy.
Although the considerable resources dedicated to global health policy – one billion euro each year – are channeled into the large-scale multilateral programs of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and the GAVI vaccination programs, neglected tropical diseases are becoming increasingly important, said Dr Flachsbarth. The BMZ is campaigning to see NTDs taken into consideration by the GFATM in future. Dr Flachsbarth said it is clear that the holistic approach of the German development programs – which is also prioritized in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) – and therefore a “frontal attack” on an individual disease is not preferable. Neglected tropical diseases could benefit from cross-disciplinary approaches such as One Health and WASH and this is already happening in some areas.
In the open discussion, in which the audience was also included, it became clear that the fight against NTDs could also gain in importance in German development cooperation. The DNTDs emphasized that its members can support the BMZ in designing and launching programs to combat NTDs.