CBM Combatting NTDs for Over 30 Years in 46 Countries
Globally, there is still an alarmingly high burden of disabilities and illness caused by Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) such as onchocerciasis or river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma. The WHO estimates that over one billion people are at risk of these communicable diseases. Women and children suffer the most from NTDs, and if left unchecked or untreated, NTDs can cause severe lifelong disabilities and hinder socio-economic productivity. Additionally, many people with disabilities and other marginalized people at risk of NTDs are unable to access preventative health services.
Over the last 30 years CBM has implemented successful NTD programmes in 46 Countries with over 300 projects. These include health services for five diseases easily treated with preventative chemotherapy – river blindness, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis (LF), schistosomiasis (SCH) and soil-transmitted helminth infections (STH). CBM’s longstanding work to end suffering from NTDs stands as a testament to the values embodied in the 2024 World NTD Day theme: “Unite, Act and Eliminate NTDs.”
CBM’s history in NTD treatments began with blinding river blindness and expanded over time to include trachoma, LF, SCH and STH. CBM currently supports NTD elimination through a community directed approach in Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Sudan. In 2022, CBM celebrated the milestone of supporting 600 million NTD treatments globally.
While the primary focus in many NTD programmes is preventive chemotherapy through mass drug administration (MDA) campaigns, CBM also recognizes the need for comprehensive care for people already affected to reduce their suffering from the disease and enable full participation in family and community life. CBM integrates morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP) for LF including training for LF lymphedema (swollen limbs) care and support for hydrocele (swollen scrotum) surgeries.
For addressing trachoma, CBM supports a comprehensive SAFE strategy including surgeries to correct trachomatous trichiasis (TT), the advanced stage of the disease.
Further we believe that inclusive, participatory and human rights-based approaches are needed to beat NTDs. In the DRC, we have supported the national NTD programme to reach community members never reached before by providing MMDP services for Internally Displaced Persons in camps in Goma. This is through a comprehensive training programme for health care workers, community drugs distributors, care givers and community members on MMDP for disabling conditions related to lymphatic filariasis, marking the first time that NTD-related disability-inclusive services were provided for internally displaced persons in the DRC. Read more at CBM Neglected Tropical Diseases Annual Report 2023.
CBM has been a partner among partners in NTD elimination, working alongside global, national, and local partners, championing country, community, and civil society ownership of NTD programmes. In Nigeria, CBM collaborates with Health and Development Support (HANDS) in advancing efforts against the five NTDs in Kano, Jigawa, Yobe states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)-read more at CBM Neglected Tropical Diseases Annual Report 2023 . This collaborative approach ensures a more comprehensive and effective response to NTDs and contributes to long-term sustainability.
In South Sudan, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), CBM together with partners including the WHO, AMREF, CUAMM, and ONO AID, launched the LF Morbidity and Disability Prevention (LF MMDP) project in December 2023. The initiative brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including local chiefs, religious leaders, health officials, administration officers, NGOs, and community members, setting the stage for collaborative action.
At the global level, CBM actively contributes to technical working groups established by the WHO; facilitates the work of the NTD NGO Network and supports global advocacy efforts through the German Network for NTDs.
"At CBM, we believe in the power of partnerships. We also believe that to truly end suffering from NTDs we need to work harder to center individuals, communities, and civil society organizations in the fight against NTDs. Together, we can achieve what might seem insurmountable individually,” said, Girija Sankar, Head of NTD programmes at CBM.
Over the years, CBM has contributed to the elimination of trachoma in countries such as Ghana, and Malawi. Currently, in collaboration with partners, we are supporting Pakistan and Burundi in developing documentation required by the WHO to validate the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem. As we celebrate these achievements, we recognize that there is still work to be done. With #50Down50toGo, the journey continues. Each step taken brings us closer to a future where NTDs no longer pose a threat to communities around the world.
In 2024, people should not have to suffer from NTDs. As the world marks yet another World NTD Day, CBM stands tall in its commitment to acting, uniting, and eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases.
100% Committed to Beat NTDs
For 30 years, CBM has supported governments in 46 countries with over 300 projects and worked with partners in the fight against NTDs. Our CEO reaffirms our commitment to unite, act and eliminate NTDs.
Youth voices in eliminating NTDs
The young generation is the torchbearer of change in the fight against NTDs. In the run-up to World NTD Day, young professionals from CBM's NTD team share their passion and insights on the importance of their work.
Showcasing CBM’s Contribution in fighting NTDs
Over the last 30 years, CBM has dedicated resources and effort to ensure that NTD services are delivered to the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities across the world.
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