Yesterday at the NNN meetings I met Christopher Ogoshi, programme coordinator at CBM’s partners from Nigeria – the Health and Development Support Programme (HANDS). HANDS Nigeria’s main focus are Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and eye care. Their programmes are implemented in 4 states across Nigeria – Yobe, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kano and Jigawa. In 2014 HANDS Nigeria’s ochocerciasis programmes reached over 2.5 million people, and their LF programmes over 9 million.
Chris and I had a pretty interesting conversation. I was very keen to know the importance of the NNN meetings for organisations on the field and what these findings translate to for their field work. This is what Chris had to say about it:
‘’Meetings such as this one formulate current issues for elimination of NTDs. Our presence here is to be able to get first-hand information about the current situation regarding NTD elimination, as well as the future scenario. There is a lots of new and exciting information here – new avenues for us to be able to know what the current world is doing in NTDs. Sometimes we also have side meetings or informal gatherings to share information, experiences and best practices with other partners. There is a tremendous amount you can learn from people coming from the field- their stories and opinions are of paramount value. These forums allow for more interaction between developed and developing nations, they are an opportunity to know about new methods being employed and how they are succeeding. We also meet important future donors at such meetings. We get to know who is providing funding. We can network amongst each other and see if our methods on the field are corresponding to these global strategies.
Inviting people from the field is important, because your work is for people in poor communities across the globe, so our input and suggestions will make your work even more effective. It is an advantageous give-and-take for everyone involved.
The outcomes of this meeting will be discussed with our field officers- new findings and learnings, better ways to coordinate our work, improved strategies, ways to capitalise our current work and strengthen our projects and situate ourselves vis a vis other NGOs. This will help us plan ahead and modify our strategies if need be. ‘’
The NNN meetings began yesterday, and it’s already clear that the success of NTD contra elimination depends on collaboration amongst various stakeholders- NGOs, UN agencies, governments, DPOs, healthcare professionals etc. Forums like these facilitate meetings and discussions where active partners involved in NTDs worldwide come together to learn and share experiences.
The plenary sessions begin tomorrow where we discuss successes and challenges for NTDs with respect to MDGs and the post-2015 process, paying particular attention to WASH and health systems strengthening. More in the next post!