An estimated 72 million people will miss out on treatment for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) between October of 2021 and April of 2022 as a result of the UK's cuts to its development assistance budget.
Until 2020, the UK was a leader in financing NTDs but its decision to cut its official development assistance (ODA) from 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5% in 2021 has led to a dramatic decline in funding for NTDs. U.K. funding, according to Uniting to Combat NTDs, was reduced by £150 million (US$205 million), a 90% reduction. Sightsavers, which managed the Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ASCEND) program in West and Central Africa, was forced to end the program early due to a funding gap.
Sightsavers estimates that 24 million people with lymphatic filariasis, 21 million with river blindness, 22 million with schistosomiasis, and 4 million children with intestinal worms will miss out on treatment.