Comm Eye Health Vol. 26 No. 82 2013 pp 21. Published online 05 August 2013.

About this issue

Allen Foster

Co-director: International Centre for Eye Health, London, UK.

Related content

In 1988, Merck in the USA made Mectizan available at no cost to communities with onchocerciasis infection. The commitment was ‘as much as is needed for as long as it is needed.’

This game-changing donation heralded the development of a new global partnership in health between the pharmaceutical industry, UN agencies, national ministries of health, non-governmental organisations and communities at risk – sectors of society which normally do not work together. Although they have different structures, driving forces, and skills, they agreed to break down the barriers that usually make them work in separate silos and to come together with a common vision to control and eliminate the specific diseases affecting neglected people. Two of these diseases – onchocerciasis and trachoma – cause blindness. Thanks to these ongoing donations, the challenge with neglected tropical diseases today is not so much to discover a treatment but rather to reach the very remote communities with an integrated, effective and sustainable programme of disease control.

This edition of the Journal aims to inform our readers about the neglected tropical diseases, the communities affected, and the available control measures. Emphasis is placed on integration and learning from each other to make the programmes more effective.