Today is a big day for the public health community! Today marks the launch of the 5th progress report and scorecard of the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)!
A perfect opportunity to highlight the results achieved to date thanks to a dynamic partnership composed of philanthropic organizations, private sector companies and key intergovernmental organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO). Together, we made great strides in reducing the burden caused by NTDs throughout the world. In 2011, just under 2 billion people required interventions against NTDs. This figure dropped to 1.5 billion in 2016, representing a decrease of over 400 million who no longer require preventive chemotherapy. In 2016 alone, more than one billion people, in the world’s poorest countries were treated for at least one NTD. That’s one in seven of the world’s population who received treatment!
For those who do not know what NTDs are: NTDs are a group of communicable diseases that affect 1.56 billion people globally. Though preventable and treatable, NTDs continue to cause severe disfigurement and other long-term disabilities that create obstacles to education, employment, economic growth and overall development.
In 2016, Speak Up Africa started an amazing journey with the WHO-nested project ESPEN (the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases). ESPEN strives to bring governments and the NTD community together to strengthen partnerships around NTDs. The Special Project provides national NTD programmes with technical support they need to break the cycle of poverty caused by NTDs. The African continent still holds close to 40% of the global NTD burden and it’s time that we reverse the trend. Fostering participatory approaches will give vulnerable populations the power to make their own decisions on interventions to improve their health and well-being at the community, while ensuring, at the regional and global levels, that all our efforts bring us closer to our 2020 NTD elimination target. Now is the time to defeat NTDs.
The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) is a five year project which was launched by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) in May 2016 to provide national NTD programmes with technical and fundraising support to help them accelerate the control and elimination of the five Neglected Tropical Diseases amenable to Preventive Chemotherapy (PC-NTDs) with the greatest burden on the continent, namely Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthes and Trachoma, which collectively affect hundreds of millions of people.
Learn more about ESPEN here: http://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/expanded-special-project-elimination-neglected-tropical-disease and join us to #BeatNTDs!