A woman researcher checking a test.
The SDC supports research and development projects on new medicines in its fight against neglected tropical diseases. © SDC / John Paul Kay

Communicable diseases create a great deal of human suffering, hinder development and make it more difficult for people to break out of the poverty trap. In order to combat communicable diseases, the SDC prioritises prevention, treatment, and the research and development of new medicines and diagnostic tools. Here the main focus is on malaria, neglected tropical diseases, diarrhoea, acute respiratory illnesses and lung infections. 

The SDC's focus

The SDC contributes to the fight against malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases through its bilateral and multilateral partnerships.

Malaria

In 2018, a child died of malaria every two minutes – in spite of major progress in this area and the fact that malaria is a preventable and treatable disease.

That is why in countries plagued by malaria the SDC provides funding for mosquito nets, strengthening health systems and promoting local community initiatives.

At the international level it also supports global initiatives such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, recognised research institutes and public-private partnerships – pioneers in the research and development of prevention methods, treatments and innovative diagnostic tools that can be brought onto the market quickly, in particular for poorer population groups.

The Swiss Malaria Group (SMG) was established on the SDC's initiative in 2007. With the SDC's support, the group brings together research institutes, public institutions, private industry and civil society organisations based in Switzerland.

The SMG's vision is to raise awareness among decision-makers and the Swiss public with the aim of:

  • advancing Switzerland's leading role in the fight against malaria;
  • strengthening research and innovation;
  • combating malaria effectively on the ground.

Neglected tropical diseases

More than a billion people worldwide suffer from neglected tropical diseases such as dengue fever, sleeping sickness and leishmaniosis. Access to medical products for these diseases is often lacking, which affects the poorer sections of a population in particular. That is why the SDC supports public-private partnerships to research and develop new medicines and tools for prevention and diagnostics against such neglected tropical diseases. It also works together with other Swiss federal offices at the international level to advocate improving access to medical products.

HIV/AIDS

The SDC supports HIV/AIDS programmes and prioritises prevention and reducing stigma and discrimination against people who are HIV-positive through its multisectoral approach. The causes and effects of HIV/AIDS go far beyond the health sector and extend to areas such as education, work, nutrition, the law and the economy. That is why Switzerland is committed to a comprehensive approach to the HIV/AIDS problem in all its facets within the framework of sexual and reproductive health and rights. SDC projects in countries with a high HIV/AIDS prevalence address the issue systematically.

Switzerland plays an active role in the global fight against HIV/AIDS by supporting international organisations such as UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Context

A constant threat

Although more than one billion people continue to be affected by neglected tropical diseases, there is often a lack of efficacious and safe treatments – the low purchasing power of the people who are primarily affected by such diseases is hardly an incentive for the research-based pharmaceuticals industry to invest in researching and developing new medicines. That is why the SDC works with public-private partnerships in order to fill this gap.

Resistance

Thanks to international efforts to combat malaria between 2000 and 2018, the number of cases went down by more than a third; the number of malaria-related deaths was even halved. This progress was made possible by massive investments and improved coordination between the global actors. However, resistance to medicines and insecticides is becoming a major problem and threatens to undermine everything that has been achieved so far – unless new, efficacious products can be developed.

In terms of access to medical products, there is international demand for Switzerland's major research capabilities, expertise, products and technologies on offer, which can make a key difference for the sustainable development of a country. The SDC makes all of these assets available in order to help resolve global health issues.

Current projects

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Public Service Improvement (PSI) in the Kyrgyz Republic

01.08.2024 - 31.07.2028

To improve people's quality of life, municipalities need to deliver efficiently and effectively services such as safe drinking water, waste collection, cultural facilities in a socially inclusive and gender responsive manner. In rural Kyrgyzstan, their capacities still need to be improved in a sustainable way. To achieve this, the project will develop the municipalities' support system which shall then provide adequate counseling and training to those municipalities today and in the long run.


Single-phase project: Enhancing Peace and Economic Prosperity through Women's Leadership and Inclusion (Women for Peace & Prosperity)

01.07.2024 - 30.06.2028

In line with the priorities of the Governments of Moldova and Switzerland, the project aims to socially and economically empower women, including refugee women from Ukraine, increase their participation in decision-making and the workforce, promote their entrepreneurial activities, and finally contribute to a just, equal, inclusive and resilient society and economy in Moldova. The project will promote gender-responsive policies and initiatives to address key barriers to women's socio-economic inclusion.


CULTURESCAPES - phasing out 2024-2025

10.06.2024 - 31.12.2025

The biennial festival CULTURESCAPES enables artists from and around the Sahara to perform and contribute to debates on specific topics relevant to the region, and to find new partners and networks. The festival takes place in several cantons of Switzerland in cooperation with various cuItural institutions. SDC’s contribution enables specific efforts regarding research, co-productions and gives artists visibility, skills and networks to benefit the cultural scene of their countries of origin.


Production des Connaissances et Appui Institutionnel pour une gestion intégrée des Ressources en Eau au Tchad - ResEau

01.06.2024 - 31.05.2028

Le Tchad subit fortement les effets du changement climatique avec des pluviométries aléatoires. Le sous-sol du Tchad dispose d’un important potentiel en eau. Faute de compétences nationales, ces ressources en eau restent très peu mobilisées. La DDC renforce, à travers ce projet, les compétences et les connaissances nationales pour favoriser une gestion durable de ces ressources et contribue ainsi à la résilience du Tchad face aux changements climatiques.


Climate Services for a Resilient Albania (ALBAdapt)

01.06.2024 - 31.12.2030

The project will increase Albania’s adaptive capacity and climate resilience through the effective generation and use of climate information and services. It will develop an innovative Multi Hazard Impact Based Early Warning System in line with international standards. The MeteoSwiss expertise will be of added value in leveraging the Green Climate Fund engagement and complementing the SECO contribution to this large strategic project.


Provision of CCCM, protection and social cohesion responses to Sudan crisis affected populations in Renk and Manyo Counties, Upper Nile

01.06.2024 - 31.12.2024

To respond to the needs of the growing number of refugees and returnees crossing the border into South Sudan due to the ongoing crisis in the Sudan, both in camp and host community settings. The intervention will improve CCCM, WASH2 and protection in Renk town, in the Transit Center (TC) at Renk and in the Reception Centre (RC) in Joda and Manyo.


Futuro Microbank

15.05.2024 - 31.12.2027

The microfinance institution Futuro Mcb, SA currently provides financial services (loans, savings, insurance) to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) mainly in and around Nampula city. Switzerland will continue to support Futuro with a grant for technical assistance that will help the bank to expand its impact by providing financial services to more low-income entrepreneurs in more regions in Northern Mozambique, thus allowing them to enhance their income and create more jobs.


Good Financial Governance (GFG)

01.05.2024 - 30.04.2027

The project contributes to strengthen Tanzania’s public financial system, a central element to cement its economic status. The 3rd phase aims at expanding the mobilization of domestic revenue and improving the government’s expenditure control. It shall strengthen interinstitutional mechanisms for tax data exchange, enhance the audit system, and improve public procurement. At policy level, it seeks to develop an evidence-based and gender responsive fiscal strategy for better public service delivery to benefit the population, especially the poor.


Integrated Water Resources Management in Kosovo (IWRM-K)

01.05.2024 - 30.04.2029

Switzerland assists water sector related governments, civil society and private sector stakeholders in Kosovo in the development/implementation of a national integrated and sustainable water resources management framework. Support activities combined with capacity development and awareness building will contribute to enhanced conservation, protection, quality and equitable distribution of water resources. Thus the project also contributes to good governance, reduced risks of internal and transboundary water-related conflicts, the mitigation of climate change impact as well to enhanced the health of the population.


Scaling Up Youth Employment in Agriculture Initiative

01.05.2024 - 30.04.2028

In Zambia and Zimbabwe, due to a mismatch between the skills they have and those in demand, youth cannot access or create economic opportunities and overlook those available. The project builds skills and matches youth with firms, markets and finance to create more and better (self)-employment in agri-food, renewable energy and emerging sectors, contributing to Swiss priorities on human and economic development and climate change. This is a contribution implemented by SNV.


Progressing towards Universal Health Coverage in Moldova

01.05.2024 - 30.06.2027

Switzerland supports Moldova’s efforts to achieve better health of the population, through ensuring universal access to affordable medical services of good quality. In its 2nd (exit) phase, the project will accompany the health authorities in advancing health financing and service delivery reforms, improving the efficiency and responsiveness of the healthcare system, promoting transparency and accountability in the health sector, and empowering service users and civil society organizations to oversee healthcare services, their quality and resource allocation.


From Education to Employment (E2E)

01.05.2024 - 30.04.2028

To raise labour market participation and address the growing workforce shortage affecting the Serbian economy, in partnership with the Serbian Ministry of Labour, Swiss approaches and instruments for labour-market insertion will be adopted and scaled by key labour-market actors from the central and local Government, civil society and the private sector. Serbian companies will be capacitated to train their workforce independently and sustainably, and to fill vacancies through improved job matching services.

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