World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on global leaders to reinforce their commitment and mobilise resources towards the elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
According to the global body, Africa bears 40 per cent of the global burden of NTD cases with about 18 million people in the continent, who require interventions against NTDs.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, made the call in a message to commemorate World NTD Day, which has the theme, “Unite, Act, Eliminate”. He called for urgent action to overcome the persistent challenges slowing progress in eliminating the diseases.
Moeti described the presence of NTDs as a constant reminder of the inequalities in our world today and appealed to leaders across Africa and the world to unite to tackle the diseases that affect the most vulnerable in society.
She said: ‘I am asking you as individuals and as communities, to act, to spread awareness, to advocate with those in power and to help to mobilise the resources needed to do this. And thirdly, I am asking you to ensure that we eliminate 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.”
She said that the Kigali Declaration, last year, called for high-level commitment from governments and communities to pull together resources and action, putting individuals, communities and countries at the centre of the NTD response.
“The World NTD Day is an occasion to consider the severe effects these diseases have on the wellbeing and livelihoods of billions around the globe. It is a time to reflect on the progress made in fighting these diseases,” she added.