30 January 2021
This year’s World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day coincides with the early stages of vaccine roll out for the coronavirus that has proved a major test for every nation around the world. Covid-19 has exposed the true interconnectedness of the world today, as well as the degree to which economies are linked to healthcare.
What better time then, to reflect and celebrate the hard-earned progress and action of the global healthcare sector? Today we join the 230 partners around the world – including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, UK Aid and Gong client GLIDE – Global Institute of Disease Elimination- to celebrate World NTD Day.
Why should we focus on NTDs?
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) threaten more than 1.7 billion people living in the poorest and most marginalized communities worldwide. They are a diverse group of 20 communicable diseases and disease groups prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical conditions, in 149 countries. They can have a devastating impact on communities and economies.
Happily, substantial progress is being made. Since 2012 (when the London Declaration on NTDs was signed), 33 countries have eliminated at least one NTD. But there is more work to be done on the journey to elimination.
The World Health Organization (WHO) roadmap for neglected tropical diseases 2021 – 2030 is the latest call to action for disease elimination, setting out eradication global targets and prevention milestones as we look forward to 2030.
So how can organizations help?
Effective disease elimination calls for a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder approach. Spanning multiple geographies, it requires collaboration to address fragmentation and avoid duplicating efforts.
There are many ways to help:
- Support the charities working towards NTD elimination. For example, The End Fund’s mission was described by the Financial Times as the ‘best buy’ in public health
- Educate yourself and those around you. GLIDE’s Annual [S1]Reportis a great place to start for a clear outline of the onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria and polio – four diseases that are on the road to elimination but are currently underfunded.
- Consider supporting World NTD Day by taking on one of these 30 Fun Ways to Beat NTDs
As the organizers of World NTD say: “By reaching everyone with the solutions we have, and investing to find the solutions we don’t, we can create a world where the 1 in 5 people worldwide who are currently at risk can lead healthy, impactful lives.” What a world that would be.