In light of the current ‘flu pandemic, which serves to remind us that infectious diseases do not respect borders, President Obama announced a new comprehensive global health strategy in May of this year. It won’t come cheap though, as the President is asking Congress to approve a 2010 Budget request of $8.6 billion — and $63 billion over six years — to tackle infectious diseases such as HIV, TB, malaria and influenza, and importantly, the so-called neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and to improve child and maternal health and family planning.
A new website, which has just been launched, showcases the activities of the USAID NTD Initiative, which forms part of this global health strategy. USAID, together with partners worldwide, will target seven of the NTDs that can be controlled using drugs: these include river blindness (onchocerciasis), schistosomiasis (bilharzia), trachoma, elephantiasis (lymphatic filariasis) and soil-transmitted helminths.
We are delighted that PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, listed as a resource on the USAID website, provides a venue for open-access publication of high-quality, peer-reviewed research on all scientific, medical, and public-health aspects of these diseases, which disparately afflict those in the developing world. And by the way, as well as ensuring that scientists involved in research, doctors and nurses treating patients, and patients themselves can freely access, distribute and re-use their content, PLoS NTDs is now the leading monthly Tropical Medicine journal.