In 1998, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co Inc. pledged to collaborate with the World Health Organization to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis. Part of this collaboration was to donate all the albendazole and Mectizan® (in Africa where onchocerciasis is prevalent) which are necessary to achieve elimination of the disease.
The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF) was created in 2000 to bring together a diverse group of public-private health partners to support the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis by mobilizing political, financial, and technical resources to ensure success.
No public health programme has ever expanded as quickly as the GPELF. Annual treatments have jumped rapidly up from 25 million in 12 countries in 2000 to 466 million in 72 countries in 2010. The rapid expansion can be attributed to several factors, including the generous drug donations and the fact that governments in endemic regions increasingly view the programme as a tangible way to address poverty and improve health.