Over the next two years, Belgium will contribute 4.4 million euros (5 million US dollars) to the fight against forgotten tropical diseases. This will be done through the Extended Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN), a project of the World Health Organization which aims to control and even eliminate five tropical diseases. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will double the Belgian contribution, giving twenty million people access to the necessary treatments over the next two years.
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The Belgian Development Cooperation will better monitor the quality of pharmaceutical products in developing countries. For this purpose, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo signed today, together with NGOs and other actors of the Belgian Official Development Aid (ODA), a declaration of commitment. About a fourth of medicines are estimated to be of bad quality in countries where the Belgian Development Cooperation is active. “This has disastrous consequences for the health of people who are often already vulnerable”, underlines Minister De Croo.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders has decided to commit USD 350,000 to the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund for the fight against cholera in Haiti. This decision comes in response to the appeal made in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution of 13th July 2017 and to the call for contributions made by the United Nations Secretary General, Mr Antonio Guterres, to UN Member States on 25th July.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo announced plans to eliminate sleeping sickness by 2025 today in Geneva, where global health experts are meeting to discuss Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). If sleeping sickness is not addressed, over 50 million people are at risk of contracting the disease.
On the eve of the international conference She Decides in Brussels, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo launched Body & Rights, a bilingual (French / Dutch) website with an e-tutorial on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Body & Rights has been developed by Sensoa the expertise centre for sexual health and member association of IPPF in Belgium and commissioned by the Institute of Tropical Medicine and Be-cause Health, the Belgian platform for international health. The free tool is aimed primarily at Belgian diplomats and everyone else active in Belgian development cooperation, but is also freely accessible to everyone who is interested in the topics.
Belgium has acceded to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). This is a global alliance which intends to step up the fight against fatal infectious diseases in the coming years. The Belgian Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is one of the driving forces behind the initiative. This year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo will set aside €500,000 for the new fund.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo welcomes the new cooperation agreement between Belgium and the World Health Organization. He was present at the signing of the agreement, this morning, by Maggie De Block, Minister of Health, and Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director of WHO in Europe. Minister De Block signed the ‘Country Cooperation Strategy' on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health. WHO is one of the 15 partner organizations of the Belgian Development Cooperation.