In 1998, GlaxoSmithKline (then SmithKline Beecham) pledged to collaborate with WHO to eliminate lymphatic filariasis. Part of this collaboration was the donation of various resources, notably albendazole – one of the mainstay drugs in the elimination strategy – free of charge for as long as necessary to ensure the success of the elimination programme.
In addition, the decision by Merck and Co. Inc. to expand its Mectizan® (ivermectin) Donation Programme to include treatment of lymphatic filariasis where appropriate, and the creation of partnerships with other private, public and international organizations, including the World Bank, have further strengthened the prospects for success of the elimination efforts.
By pooling skills and resources and working through national health systems in endemic countries, elimination can be achieved, local capacity strengthened and developmental potential assured for those whose lives would otherwise be blighted by the disease.
The Global Alliance held meetings in 2000 (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), 2002 (New Delhi, India), 2004 (Cairo, Egypt), 2006 (Suva, Fiji) and 2008 (Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania).
The sixth meeting took place in Seoul (Republic of Korea) in June 2010 and was attended 150 participants from 38 countries.