"We will fight -- we will fight neglected tropical disease. And we won't confront illnesses in isolation -- we will invest in public health systems that promote wellness and focus on the health of mothers and children." - President Barack Obama's speech Saturday in Accra, Ghana, as provided by the White House.
While memories of President Obama speech in Ghana promising a "comprehensive, global health strategy" are fresh, we hope he, Ghanian President John Atta-Mills and other world leaders do not miss an opportunity to address the neglected disease that's one of the world's most pervasive killers of children worldwide -- childhood diarrheal disease.
In Ghana, diarrhea accounts for 25 percent of all deaths in children under five and is among the top three reported causes of morbidity. Children under five typically have three to five episodes of diarrhea and a similar number of respiratory infections a year.
Every day, approximately 4,500 poor children under the age of five in developing countries die from this wholly preventable and treatable disease that's been neglected not only by world leaders, but by the media and public as well.
At OneWorld Health, we are working to discover and develop novel treatments for diarrheal disease that are safe, effective and affordable to even the poorest of the poor. We're making headway on this expensive, complex and time-intensive process by collaborating with our private sector, NGO and government partners.
Now, our latest collaboration with our newest pharma partner, Novartis, is helping us discover and develop a novel therapy for secretory diarrhea. By leveraging Novartis' deep research on Cystic Fibrosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome to discover and develop new compound series aimed at improving the treatment of diarrheal diseases, our aim is to greatly accelerate the drug development process.
We encourage anyone who's concerned about the senseless number of childhood deaths caused by diarrheal diseases to support advocacy efforts to ensure that it's no longer a neglected disease and the development of affordable and accessible treatments for all.