10/90 gap

From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia

10/90 gap refers to a term used within global health research to highlight a disparity where less than 10% of worldwide resources are allocated to research diseases that account for 90% of the global disease burden. This gap underscores a significant imbalance in the way health research funding is distributed, often leaving diseases that predominantly affect the poorest populations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) under-researched and underfunded.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The concept of the 10/90 gap was first introduced by the Global Forum for Health Research in the late 1990s as a way to draw attention to the inequitable distribution of health research resources. It emphasizes that a vast majority of medical research and development funding is directed towards diseases that are more prevalent in high-income countries, leaving the health conditions that primarily affect the global poor vastly underrepresented.

Causes[edit | edit source]

Several factors contribute to the 10/90 gap, including but not limited to:

  • Economic Interests: Pharmaceutical companies and funding bodies often prioritize diseases that promise a return on investment, which typically means focusing on conditions prevalent in wealthier markets.
  • Lack of Awareness: There is often a lack of awareness or interest in the diseases that predominantly affect LMICs among researchers and policymakers in high-income countries.
  • Insufficient Infrastructure: LMICs may lack the necessary infrastructure, including laboratories and trained personnel, to conduct significant research.
  • Political Will: There can be a lack of political will to invest in health research for diseases that are not seen as a priority within the national or global agenda.

Impact[edit | edit source]

The 10/90 gap has profound implications for global health, including:

  • Neglected Diseases: Diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) receive a fraction of the research funding compared to diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
  • Lack of Access to Medicines: The gap contributes to a lack of access to essential medicines and treatments for the world's poorest populations.
  • Innovation Gap: There is a significant gap in innovation for new treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics for diseases that primarily affect LMICs.

Efforts to Address the 10/90 Gap[edit | edit source]

Various initiatives have been launched to address the 10/90 gap, including:

  • Public-Private Partnerships: Collaborations between governments, non-profit organizations, and the private sector aim to fund research and development for neglected diseases.
  • Global Health Funds: Entities like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance have been instrumental in mobilizing resources for diseases that are often overlooked.
  • Open Access Research: Encouraging open access to research findings and data to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration across borders.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

The 10/90 gap represents a significant challenge in global health, highlighting the need for a more equitable distribution of research funding and resources. Addressing this gap is crucial for achieving global health equity and ensuring that all people, regardless of where they live, have access to life-saving treatments and interventions.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD