National Programme Managers and Partners Meet to Take Stock of Progress in the African Region
KIGALI, Rwanda, 18 July 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA) /- The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) convenes national Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Programme Managers and partners at its first annual meeting to review the regional and national progress towards NTD elimination in Africa.
NTDs are a group of communicable diseases that affect more than 1.5 billion people globally, 39% of whom live in Africa. These dangerous and destructive diseases can be prevented and treated, yet they continue to cause severe disfigurement and other long-term disabilities that create obstacles to education, employment, economic growth and overall development.
In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of NTDs (ESPEN) to help all African countries accelerate the elimination of the 5 most prevalent NTDs by sharing best practices, coordinating activities and offering technical guidance. “Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) programmes harness diverse partnerships to drive impact – including across sectors, and countries. With communities and entire nations struggling under the burden of these diseases, increased financial support, stronger political commitment and better tools to prevent, diagnose and treat the diseases are vital to defeat NTDs”, said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director. At this first annual meeting, ESPEN, Programme Managers and partners will provide updates and share their progress towards the NTD control and elimination. Discussions will address coordination, government ownership, partnerships, planning, advocacy and resource mobilization.
NTDs have devastated over millions of lives for the longest time but, massive coordinated efforts have brought together governments, private sector companies, NGOs and communities from the most remote areas, proving us that the international community is on the right track, and that elimination is within reach. Throughout the continent, countries are making progress towards NTD control and elimination. In 2017, Togo eliminated lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem in Togo and this year, Ghana has done the same with trachoma. Illustrating public health as its best, health technicians, partners and community health workers have come together with a clear objective to improve the lives of millions of the most vulnerable people.
With the clear objective to promote the need for coordination of country ownership of the integrated PC-NTD programme, from the meeting shall stem key action points and recommendations to improve the implementation of annual plans and activities for the completion of the NTD Roadmap.