From 24 - 26 September 2018 CBM will participate in the annual NTD NGDO Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which will be attended by over 500 global participants.
What are Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)?
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are primarily parasitic and bacterial infections that thrive in impoverished settings, especially in the heat and humidity of tropical climates. They are spread by insects, contaminated water and soil infested with the eggs or larvae of worms.
NTDs affect the poorest populations in the developing world living in remote, rural areas, urban slums, or conflict zones where there is little money for medication and health care. One sixth of the world's population — more than one billion people — suffers from one or more NTD. NTDs cause great human misery, often aggravated by social stigmatization and discrimination, especially for women. They cause pain, disfigurement, and disability (mental and physical), and result in about half a million deaths each year.
NTDs and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Negatively impacting on virtually all of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), NTDs hinder development, keeping individuals and communities trapped in a cycle of poverty.
The 17 goals of the SDGs reflect the global pledge to “leave no one behind”. In this context and for the first time, NTDs have been included with a specific indicator. Under the health target 3.3 which states that “By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, TB, malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases” we currently have the proxy-NTD tracer: “A 90% reduction in the number of people requiring NTD interventions”.
The SDG target on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) 3.8 is also especially relevant for NTDs and for CBM as it highlights the need for equitable and quality services for all: “Achieve UHC, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”.
Both targets and respective tracers promote health system strengthening for sustainability.
NTDs are linked to almost all SDGs, such as those related to poverty (SDG 1), hunger (SDG 2), quality education (SDG 4), water and sanitation (SDG 6), climate change (SDG 13) and global partnership (SDG 17).
CBM’s work with NTDs
CBM supports NTD control and elimination programmes in areas where these diseases are identified as a public health problem. It has been successfully involved in the prevention of blindness from onchocerciasis and trachoma for more than 25 years. Building on its experience and expertise, and on its long-standing relationship with partner organisations and their networks all over the world, CBM is fully committed to engaging in fighting the five major NTDs (trachoma, onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis [LF], schistosomiasis [SCH], and soil-transmitted helminths [STHs]).
However, it is important to recognise the need for a comprehensive Continuum of Care (CoC) for the many people already affected, in order to address morbidity, reduce suffering caused by the diseases, as well as their social and economic effects (e.g. stigma, discrimination and poverty). The aim should be to restore full participation in family and community life. In this context – and in line with the SDGs and CBM’s Disability Inclusive Development (DID) and Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) approach – we promote fully comprehensive, integrated and inclusive (accessible, barrier-free) NTD programs that build on effective intersectoral collaboration and contribute to strengthening national health systems in a sustainable way.
CBM is dedicated to working with partners at the global, regional and country levels to support national programmes and their efforts to control or eliminate NTDs in line with WHO and national programme guidelines.
- Recently CBM played an important role in making Ghana trachoma free.
- Earlier this year CBM started first treatments for blinding trachoma in war-torn Yemen.
The Neglected Tropical Diseases NGO Network (NNN)
CBM is an active member organisation of the NNN and its various disease specific and cross-cutting groups. The NNN was established in October 2009 to create a global forum for non-governmental organisations working together to control or eliminate onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, soil transmitted helminths, and trachoma. Other diseases including leprosy and podoconiosis have since joined the forum. These NTDs share common strategies including community-based health interventions that can be integrated to strengthen health care systems.
Since its inception the NNN has developed into the largest forum for the NGO NTD community and interested stakeholders such as WHO and funders with its annual conference as a major coordination and advocacy platform.
The NNN meetings this year will be held from 24 - 26 September in Addis Ababa. Over 500 participants based around the globe will attend the meetings. In addition CBM will host a field visit on 23rd September for interested participants to one of its partners to Gurage Zone, Meskan District, to demonstrate comprehensive SAFE activities by one of the CBM-supported local partners GTM. CBM will also host a pre-meeting for NTD affected people to strengthen active participation of affected people as a human right.
Disabling NTDs, such as trachoma, river blindness or lymphatic filariasis, can lead to severe stigma, associated mental health problems and social exclusion. These social consequences are often described by those affected as the greater disability. Participatory and human rights based approaches, such as Disease Management Disability and Inclusion (DMDI), address these often-neglected aspects of NTD work as a crosscutting theme. They are guided by the principle that people affected by NTDs are essential to the success of programs. Having experienced the disease, disability and associated discrimination, people affected by NTDs have a unique voice and perspective, they bring passion to the work and take the programs closer to the communities they are designed to benefit.Prof KH Martin Kollmann, CBM Senior Advisor NTDs