WHO Calls For Increased Investment To Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases


The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti has called on countries to reinforce their commitment and mobilise resources to accelerate the elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) globally, especially in Africa.

Moeti said this in her message marking the 2023 World NTD Day – 30 January 2024

TheFact Daily gathered that World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day
is set aside to consider the severe effects NTDs have on the well-being and livelihoods of billions around the globe. The theme of this year’s NTD Day is “Unite. Act. Eliminate”.

According to Moeti, this was a time to reflect on the progress made in fighting NTDs and to recognise the urgent need for global and national authorities to reinforce their commitment and mobilise resources to accelerate the elimination of these diseases globally and in Africa.

She urged leaders across Africa and the world, “that we unite to tackle these devastating diseases, that affect the most vulnerable of our communities. The presence of NTDs is a constant reminder of the inequalities in our world today.

“Second, I am asking you, as individuals and as communities, to act, to spread awareness, to advocate with those in power, and to help mobilize the resources needed to do this.

“And third, I am asking you to ensure that we eliminate – that we end – these diseases once and for all. Let’s build a world where no-one lives with river blindness, no-one is shunned by society because they are living with the ancient disease of leprosy, and no-one is debilitated by anaemia because they are infected with soil-transmitted worms”, the WHO Regional Director for Africa said.

Dr. Moeti averred that, progress against NTDs was one of Africa’s greatest achievements and she was proud of the headway made by the WHO Regional Office for Africa, and by the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN), as well as the enormous support received from partners and governments.

She disclosed that there were currently 18 million fewer people in Africa who require interventions against NTDs. Also, Nineteen countries in the region had eliminated at least one NTD.

Speaking on some of the successes recorded in the fight against NTDs in Africa, World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa said, ” a key contributor to the successes we have seen so far has been successful public-private partnerships. Non-governmental development organizations and the Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network (NNN) have played a crucial role through their advocacy, by developing and upholding best practices, and by contributing to WHO guidelines on NTD response.

“The donation of medications for mass drug administration by pharmaceutical companies has also been key.

“In recent times, increased awareness of NTDs has led to better diagnosis and treatment for people living with the diseases, and prevention by controlling the vectors that carry NTDs – the tse tse flies, snails, worms and the animal reservoirs.

“Providing safe water supplies and sanitation is another essential action to prevent NTDs, which at the same time, improves people’s overall quality of life.

“However, even with all this progress, Africa bears 40% of the global burden of NTD cases. We need to overcome the persistent challenges that are slowing progress in eliminating these diseases”, Moeti said.

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