Why British Leadership Remains Critical To Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases

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Since the dawn of medicine, the UK has been a pioneer and world leader in preventative medicines like vaccines, antibiotics, and Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) treatments.

It started with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s introduction to deliberately inoculating people with a mild case of the disease in the eighteenth century and was followed decades later by Edward Jenner’s creation of the first smallpox vaccine. The field of tropical medicine was created by Scottish parasitologist Sir Patrick Manson in the nineteenth century.

Manson discovered that an insect (e.g. a mosquito) can serve as an intermediate host for a developing parasite, radically advancing the knowledge of tropical diseases including malaria, and NTDs like lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, leprosy, and loa loa.

The recent reduction to the United Kingdom’s foreign aid budget forces some difficult decisions that could jeopardize this illustrious history. My hope is that one of those decisions is to honor the legacy of the U.K.’s historic commitment to NTDs. A cut to NTD program funding would be a setback for millions of people around the world, at a time when the possibility of seeing an end to these diseases is so tangible.

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NTDs are a group of diseases that sometimes kill people but more often destroy their quality of life through malnutrition, disfigurement, blindness, and other severe ailments. These diseases affect 1.7 billion people worldwide, most of whom live in areas with limited resources such as poor access to clean water and sanitation.

Infected children often cannot attend school; adults struggle to work and this affects their earning potential. As the CEO of the END Fund, a philanthropic organisation focused on ending the five most prevalent NTDs, I can say with certainty that NTDs perpetuate a cycle of poverty, sickness, and suffering; they rob millions of men, women, and children of the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Why British Leadership Remains Critical To Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases - Brand Spur

In the past 40 years—and at an accelerating pace—more progress has been made against NTDs than any other time in human history and leadership from the U.K. has been at the heart of this progress.

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This surge is the result of several factors, including effective drugs (donated by pharmaceutical companies) and the unflagging work of organisations to distribute these drugs and help implement disease interventions. The number of people at risk of NTDs has been reduced by 600 million people in the last decade alone, and 42 countries have eliminated at least one NTD.

We are so close to seeing a world free of the burden caused by NTDs. The new World Health Organization (WHO) 2030 NTD Roadmap ratified last November charts an ambitious path to NTD elimination over the next decade. A reduction in aid would jeopardize progress when the finish line is just on the horizon.

Currently the U.K.’s foreign aid commitment for NTDs is about £220 million to 2022, a mere 0.6% of the aid budget per annum. On the granular level, the cost to treat or prevent the five most prevalent NTDs is less than 50 pence per person per year, on average. Each pound invested in NTD treatment in endemic countries yields £19 – £30 worth of economic benefit, which unlocks the door to health and future prosperity.

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A recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) found that meeting parasitic worm infection elimination targets for four African countries (Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and Kenya) would yield £3.7 billion in productivity gains by 2040.

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The U.K.’s ability to strengthen the local economy of so many nations is one of the major reasons why the commitment to NTDs should not be reduced. The recent emphasis on initiatives such as the U.K. – Africa trade will yield greater benefit if the global economy is strengthened.

Why British Leadership Remains Critical To Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases - Brand Spur

Many British entities, some of which are listed below, have and continue to contribute to the field of NTDs:

● British non-governmental organisations are leading the fight against NTDs: the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Foundation, Sightsavers, Leprosy Mission (which Diana, Princess of Wales worked with since 1989), Mentor Initiative, LEPRA, Uniting to Combat NTDs, and others.

● Many of the most impactful British philanthropies are invested in the fight to end NTDs: Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Power of Nutrition, Virgin Unite, and Wellcome Trust.

● The oldest and most esteemed schools of tropical medicine are British: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicines, Imperial College London, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

● British institutions, such as the Natural History Museum and the Wellcome Trust, provide crucial support and resources for NTD research.

● The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust’s Trachoma Initiative provided 26.6 million antibiotic eye treatments and 104,020 sightsaving operations.

● British pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithKline has donated over 10 billion tablets of albendazole to protect over 900 million people from intestinal worms and lymphatic filariasis.

Owing to the U.K.’s long tradition of altruism, contributions to this field have never slackened. It is, therefore, critical that British leadership stays the course in this movement to end NTDs over the coming decade. ‘

A funding reduction would be a devastating chapter in the U.K.’s proud history as a global leader that has been a bedrock of funding, a font of knowledge and a reliable source of action.

Even in a world wracked by COVID-19, to divert funds from NTDs will be to lose critical progress and relinquish leadership status. It will bring a premature conclusion to what is due to seal the great British success story of ending NTDs in this decade. That is why I call on the UK government to maintain NTD funding.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the END Fund

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Latest News

Next Meats, Purveyor of the World’s First Plant-based Yakiniku Meats, Is Now in Singapore

The Tokyo-based startup makes its debut in the alt-protein hotspot of Singapore

 

  • Next Meats has collaborated with Aburi-EN to deliver two new meal sets
  • Made with soybean proteins, the Kalbi contains no chemical additives or animal ingredients


SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 14 April 2021 - Next Meats, a purveyor of the world's first plant-based yakiniku meats, is making its debut in the alternative protein hotspot, Singapore! The Japanese alternative meat company has collaborated this time with popular Japanese restaurant Aburi-EN, which will offer two types of set meals using the NEXT Kalbi (boneless short rib) for the very first time. Made largely from soy proteins, the NEXT Kalbi contains double the amount of protein and half the fats than that of regular meat and even more, it does not contain any chemical additives or cholesterol due to its lack of animal ingredients. Now, Singaporeans can enjoy yakiniku without the guilt!


Why British Leadership Remains Critical To Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases - Brand Spur

From left to right: Premium Kalbi Don Set and Stamina Teishouku Set

The two new menus available at Aburi-EN are the Kalbi Don Set (S$13.80) and the Stamina Teishoku (S$15.80) — which are available for a limited time only. Next Meats has specifically chosen to work with Aburi-EN as they are a Japanese grilled-meat specialist. The two menus are the culmination of many months of research and development, and they will also be Aburi-EN's first-ever plant-based dishes.


Why British Leadership Remains Critical To Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases - Brand Spur

For the Kalbi Don Set, Next Meat's Kalbi is grilled and served atop a bowl of fragrant Japanese steamed rice. Equally indulgent, the Stamina Teishoku features the Kalbi stir-fried with cabbage along with egg imported from Okinawa. The meat is then served with fragrant Japanese steamed rice, salad, pickles and miso soup. For both dishes, the meats are glazed with a special homemade sauce that packs an irresistible umami punch.

Both the Kalbi Don Set and Stamina Teishoku will be available at all Aburi-EN stores from April to July 2021.

An advocate of sustainable food production and better food security

The NEXT Kalbi is one of Next Meats' innovative offerings, which includes other plant-based delicacies such as the NEXT burger and NEXT gyudon (beef bowl). The company champions the importance of saving the planet and humanity through reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (which is produced from meat consumption and animal agriculture) and utilizing biotechnology to combat protein deficiency.

Through extensive research and development, Next Meats has culminated the knowhow on using molecular binding to mould vegetable proteins from powder. Buoyed by state-of-the-art, proprietary technologies, the company has successfully created vegan substitutes that replicate the texture of real meat.

About Next Meats

Hailing from Tokyo, Next Meats is a food-tech venture company that specialises in the research and development of Japanese-style alternative meat products. Its journey of product development began in 2017, and the company was officially established in 2020. Its portfolio of products includes plant-based burger patties, gyudon and yakiniku meats.

Social Media for Next Meats

Facebook: /nextmeats.singapore

Instagram: @nextmeats_singapore

Hashtags: #nextmeats #nextmeats_sg #japaneseplantbased


About Aburi-EN

Aburi-EN is Singapore's leading Japanese Grill restaurant chain, best known for delicious high quality grilled donburi bowls. Signature dishes include the Premium Buta Don with grilled chestnut-fed pork, Wagyu Karubi Don, and the Wagyu Stamina Don, made using A4/A5 Miyazaki Wagyu, which has won Japan's "National Wagyu Award" for 3 consecutive years, among many others. The homemade sauces give the meats and dishes an extra umami-ness. Aburi-EN is also known for affordable highballs and Japanese sours, which pair perfectly with the Aburi dishes.

Social Media for Aburi-EN

Facebook: /aburiensg

Instagram: @aburien.sg

Hashtags: #aburiensg #aburiendonburi #aburienjapanesegrill

Outlets

- Isetan Scotts:

350 Orchard Rd, #01-K1 Shaw House, Singapore 238868

- Causeway Point

1 Woodlands Square, #02-09B Causeway Point, Singapore 738099

- Jem

50 Jurong Gateway Rd, #01-04 Jem, Singapore 608549

- Vivo City

1 Harbourfront Walk, #01-159/160 VivoCity, Singapore 098585

- Novena Square

238 Thomson Rd, #01-89/90, Singapore 307683

- Guoco Tower

1 Wallich St, #B2 - 09, Singapore 078884

- Orchard Central

181 Orchard Central, Central, #01-16 Orchard, 238896

- Suntec City

3 Temasek Blvd, #B1-121 Suntec City Mall, Singapore 038983

- Nex

23 Serangoon Central, #01-63/64/65 Nex, Singapore 556083

Operating Hours

11am – 10pm, Daily

Why British Leadership Remains Critical To Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases - Brand Spur
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