“The increase in country leadership of NTD control is critical for success and is highly reassuring,” said Sylvia Meek, Technical Director of Malaria Consortium. “However, we need to go further. We need to engage those individuals and communities who are at risk of these diseases so that they understand and support national efforts. Their awareness will be key, especially in the later stages of elimination.”
Malaria Consortium, a member organisation of the UK Coalition against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), attended and presented at today’s launch of the third progress report on NTDs since the London Declaration on NTDs in 2012. The release of the report by Uniting to Combat NTDs, demonstrates strong country leadership in affected countries and highlights the huge health and economic benefits that can result from investing in fighting these diseases.
The report entitled Country Leadership and Collaboration on Neglected Tropical Diseases concludes that countries are increasingly taking ownership of NTD programmes, providing new funding and are pursuing innovative approaches to combat these diseases of poverty that affect one in six people worldwide.
It is a pivotal time in the fight against NTDs with the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals at the end of this year. Malaria Consortium welcomes the report’s call on partners to scale up efforts to reach WHO targets to reduce poverty related deaths by tackling NTDs.
“NTD investment is a ‘best buy’ in development and this report helps to amplify this message alongside calling for an increase of political and financial commitment to meet the 2020 goals,” said Alex Hulme, Advocacy Manager for Malaria Consortium and Vice-chair of the UK Coalition against NTDs.
“This year represents a unique opportunity to focus efforts on NTDs with the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals. Malaria Consortium and the Coalition are committed to working with the new UK government to ensure these diseases remain high on the international agenda.”
The launch includes various panel discussions and a Market Place event on ‘Innovation, data and evidence’ where Malaria Consortium showcases its innovative approach in the prevention and control of an NTD called schistosomiasis in northern Mozambique. Our work in this area explores the use of community dialogues to improve prevention and control of this disease. The approach mobilises and empowers communities with the information, skills and confidence needed to make decisions about their own lives.
“The work of the many thousands of community health workers who make NTD control possible deserves special recognition and thanks, concluded Dr Meek. “Without their dedication many of the potential recipients of treatment would miss out.”
Keywords: Advocacy and policy