A barrier to inclusive development
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) present a largely hidden burden that affect the most vulnerable and voiceless communities living in poverty and conflict zones. These diseases disproportionately affect children, women and persons with disability and flourish under conditions characterised by poor housing and sanitation, unsafe water, and limited access to health care.
Affecting more than 1 billion people worldwide (that’s one-sixth of the population) NTDs keep individuals and communities rooted in a vicious cycle of poverty, disability and social stigmatisation.
The good news is that eliminating NTDs no longer remains a challenge- many organisations possess the technical and programmatic know-how and skills to do so. Indeed, the world has seen some wonderful achievements in the past few years – for example the elimination of blinding trachoma from countries like Morocco, Ghana and Iran. Just last year Ecuador was declared free of onchocerciasis (river blindness) by the WHO.
Strong ownership and leadership is being shown by endemic countries as well – most governments are actively involved in their NTDs initiatives. In fact countries like Bangladesh, the Philippines and India are in charge of their own public health initiatives, financing 85%, 94% and 100% of their NTD programmes respectively.
Forums such as the NTD NGDO Network also provide an active platform where organisations can meet to exchange best practices and formulate concrete, effective and practical strategic actions. This year NNN members will also be asked to sign the Abu Dhabi Declaration to encourage the UN to include a global indicator for NTDs in the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Target 3.3).
CBM’s work with NTDs
CBM has been combating NTDs in over 25 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia for over 20 years. In 2014 CBM-supported programmes treated over 31 million patients affected by NTDs. Additionally we are also part of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Trachoma Initiative to tackle blinding trachoma in 11 Commonwealth countries by 2019. CBM is an implementing partner in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. Have a look at our CBM NTD Report 2015 for more information about our work with NTDs.
In the words of Ethiopia’s minister of health Kesetebirhan Admasu “NTDs are not only a health agenda, but a development agenda too, for which the poor pay the highest price.” We at CBM strongly believe that through international partnerships and alliances, coordinated response and consistent research, NTDs around the world can be eliminated, and that the epidemic of global NTDs can indeed be ended by 2030.