Saturday, April 02, 2005

Close the 10/90 gap.

Some suggest that ninety percent of the global disease burden affects developing countries while just ten percent of global research and development funds are used to development of treatments and vaccines for those diseases. This has been called 'the 10/90 gap,' and thankfully, there are lots of folks working to close it.

* The Initiative on Public-Private Partnerships for Health operates under the Global Forum for Health Research and supports alliances to fight neglected diseases. They maintain a list of 92 such partnerships.

* The Global Forum on Health Research is working to correct 'the 10/90 gap.' Visit the site to sign up for newsletters and learn more.

* The Medicines for Malaria Venture is a "nonprofit organization created to discover, develop and deliver new affordable antimalarial drugs through effective public-private partnerships."

* The Sustainable Science Institute is "a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public health worldwide, by helping scientists in developing countries gain access to the resources needed to address local problems related to infectious diseases." They offer training and consulting services, low-cost diagnostics developments and policy research.

* One World Health is a nonprofit pharmaceutical company. (What a wonderful concept!) Interested people can donate research or intellectual property, or can volunteer their time, and expertise in bench research, bioethics, epidemiology, manufacturing, etc.

These organizations provide excellent ways for scientists, bioethicists, and others to help ease the global disease burden. For more information on science-based development initiatives, see the November 9th post.


Karama said...

I'm doing a little more research on this 10/90 gap because I'm not convinced the 90% of global disease is borne by folks in the developing world. That statistic depends greatly on how one defines 'health' and 'disease.' The folks I've met in and from developing countries are not diseased masses as this statistic suggests. However the diseases of the Global South receive less attention in form of research and treatment.

Take malaria for example: this disease kills more than one million children each year in Africa (that's 2,800 children every day). It kills 8,000 Brazilians each year (more than AIDS and cholera combined). 40% of the world's population is at risk of contracting malaria and yet there's no vaccine, effective treatments are too expensive and not available, and the mosquitoes and parasites become resistant to each new drug developed, sometimes less than a year after the drug is introduced. I contend that that would not be the case if the disease still affected Europe and the US like it once did.

So although the numbers may not be '10/90' exactly, there is still significant work to be done. It's a matter of justice.

Steve said...

Giving a little dough to one of these organizations might be a nice way to honor the memory of John Paul II, as this was one of the things he often talked about.

Karama said...

What an excellent suggestion, Steve! Thanks! And welcome back to blogging. We missed you!