Niger’s Ministry of Public Health launches national coalition on Neglected Tropical Diseases

Press Release • 04 July 2019

New group established to coordinate action against debilitating diseases in Niger

This week, Niger’s Ministry Public Health has established the National Coalition on Neglected Tropical Diseases to enable greater collaboration between national stakeholders on how best to protect more people from these diseases. This new group is the first national multisectoral coalition for NTD control and elimination.

Over 25 participants attended the launch in Niamey including representatives from the Hydraulic Directorate, Helen Keller International, World Vision, NGO CDR and members from the journalists networks.

At the meeting, the national advocacy plan for NTDs was officially validated, marking the launch of the ‘No to Neglected Tropical Diseases’ campaign in Niger.

Close collaboration between the National NTD Control Program, ministerial departments and other key partners is essential to ensure sustainable progress is made against Neglected Tropical Diseases in Niger. The new coalition therefore aims to provide a national platform that enables improved coordination among all stakeholders involved in the fight against NTDs and leverages financial and technical resources.

Dr. Aichatou Djibo, National NTD Control Program Coordinator: « Today is a great day for the fight against NTDs in Niger! For the first time, all stakeholders active in NTD control are mobilized. Today’s event reflects our partners’ unwavering commitment, which reinforces my conviction in our ability to achieve our NTD control and elimination goals. »

Through this coalition, the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders hope to share information relating to the state of the fight against NTDs in Niger, identify priority actions and missions for the national steering committee on NTDs and define stakeholder roles and responsibilities.

Fara Ndiaye, Deputy Executive Director, Speak Up Africa says: “NTDs affect millions of Nigeriens every year, causing blindness, disability or even death. We are delighted to support the development of a national coalition on this important issue, to pave the way for millions to continue living healthy lies, and for the country to prosper.
“This coalition represents the only platform that these different stakeholders will have to collaborate and exchange on current affairs and coordinate advocacy efforts. This multisectoral approach will therefore be key to the success and outcomes of the coalition, and ultimately save lives.”
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases which affect more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, 39% of whom live in Africa. In Niger, NTDs are co-endemic in almost all regions and present a heavy burden for the whole population.

In recent years Niger has been successful in achieving high coverage of treatment for diseases such as lymphatic filariasis, yet 15.2 million people in Niger required a treatment for at least one preventive chemotherapy neglected tropical disease (PC-NTD) in 2016. Through implementing its 2016-2020 Strategic NTD Plan, Niger is committed to:
– Scale up programs’ implementations, treatments and service delivery;
– Strengthen result-based planning, resource mobilization and funding sustainability for NTDs;
– Strengthen government advocacy, coordination and program’s ownership;
-Strengthen monitoring and evaluation, surveillance and operational research.

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