'Phenomenal' progress in fighting tropical diseases

'Phenomenal' progress in fighting tropical diseases

There has been a record-breaking achievement in distributing tablets to fight neglected tropical diseases, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says, BBC reports.

The effort has ramped up since a key meeting in London five years ago.

In 2015, one billion people worldwide were treated for at least one tropical disease. Companies have donated seven billion treatments since 2012.

The World Health Organisation said improving water and sanitation was key to driving further progress.
The London meeting resulted in a pledge to control or eliminate 10 neglected tropical diseases - including guinea worm, river blindness and trachoma - by 2020.

Some 170,000 people die from one of the illnesses every year, but their biggest impact is disabling their sufferers.

In an interview with BBC News, Bill Gates praised pharmaceutical companies for "doing their part in a great relationship" by donating treatment at "a phenomenal scale".