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Roy Widdus, IPPPH Manager IPPPH Phone: 41.22.799.4086 Email: email@example.com
GENEVA -- A $1,000,000, two-year grant has been awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to an initiative of the Global Forum for Health Research that seeks to develop drugs and vaccines through public-private partnerships and to make them accessible to the tens of millions of people living in poverty in developing countries.
"Unfortunately, there is no market for these products and this has created 'neglected' diseases for which little or no drug or vaccine research or distribution is being carried out," says Roy Widdus, head of the Global Forum's Initiative on Public-Private Partnerships for Health (IPPPH), which received the grant.
The goal of the initiative is to identify unmet global health problems and then to encourage the creation of partnerships between the public sector (governments and international agencies) and the private sector (pharmaceutical and other firms, academic institutions, NGOs and foundations) that are focused on addressing those needs. World Health Organization Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland called for a broader range of businesses to get engaged in improving global health at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
"Many global health problems seem insurmountable because the right collection of people and organizations is not yet part of the solution," said Gordon Perkin, Director of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We firmly believe that the only effective way to improve global health equity is through strong partnerships."
"Our central objective," commented Louis Currat, Executive Secretary of the Geneva-based Global Forum, "is to help correct the present 10/90 gap in health research funding. Clearly, it is not efficient that 90% of funding should be spent on 10% of the problems, as measured by the global burden of disease, while less than 10% is left for all the rest."
Currently, there are about 10 public-private partnerships working to develop drugs or vaccines for global diseases, such as the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Medicines for Malaria Venture, and another half dozen seeking better distribution of existing drugs in the developing world to combat the effects of trachoma, AIDS, and a variety of parasitic diseases.