World NTD Day: Africa says No to Neglected Tropical Diseases

Press Release • 02 February 2021

Speak Up Africa, Basketball African League, Ecobank Group, Tongoro, Observateur Ebene, Fatou Guinea, the No to NTDs Civil Society Network, African journalists and RBS Crew take action to end Neglected Tropical Diseases.


Dakar, February 1st, 2021 – On the second ever World NTD Day, spearheaded by policy and advocacy action tank Speak Up Africa, high-level stakeholders, private and civil society organizations, artists and the media united to say No to Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

First launched in 2020, World NTD Day was introduced to mark the global fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases, a group of diseases that affect more than 1.5 billion people globally. Approximately one third of those live in Africa.

To mark the occasion, the No to NTDs Civil Society Network coordinated iconic landmarks across Senegal, Niger, Guinea and Benin to shine orange and violet, the World NTD Day campaign colors, for the day to highlight the importance of all countries working together to fight NTDs. The Monument de la Renaissance in Senegal, the Place de la Concertation in Niger, the Monument du 22 Novembre in Guinea and the Etoile Rouge in Benin are among the many monuments worldwide that have light up.

To end Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa and globally, we must increase the awareness around these diseases. We are so proud to have been part of this movement and to have lit up the Monument du 22 Novembre in Guinea. Solidarity is key to eliminate this group of diseases, and people and our communities must know that every action against NTDs, resonates on the continent and globally.

highlighted Salomon Dopavogui, Executive Director of Jeunesse Secours and Vice President of the No to NTDs Civil Society Network

Furthermore, private sector organizations showed their support for the cause, with pan-African banking group Ecobank stepping up to end NTDs by raising awareness amongst its employees and clients across Francophone Africa.

As a private-sector organization, we recognize how important it is to lend our voice to the fight against NTDs, which affect millions of Africans. NTDs are diseases of inequity that also negatively impact Africa’s development as a whole, and we hope that other organizations are able to join us and end the neglect.

commented Carl Manlan, Chief Operating Officer of the Ecobank Foundation

In Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa, Yard and RBS Crew worked on a participative fresco to inspire and inform the general public and the youth on the fight against NTDs. Drawn at the foot of the Renaissance Monument, the painting of this fresco convened Rajah Dioury Sy, Director of Special Olympics Senegal; Amadou Gallo Fall, President of the Basketball African League; Carl Manlan from the Ecobank Foundation; and Sarah Diouf, fashion brand founder and creative director of Tongoro. To further increase awareness, social media personalities Observateur Ebene and Fatou Guinea joined the celebrations and participated in the painting of the fresco while sharing the importance to act against NTDs with their millions of online followers.

Neglected tropical diseases disproportionately impact women and girls in Africa and I am delighted to participate in the fight against these diseases. For Africa to thrive, we must collectively act to end NTDs.

affirmed Sarah Diouf, Founder of Tongoro, while painting the fresco on the court

Civil society organizations (CSOs), as part of No to NTDs Civil Society Network, also marked World NTD Day through communication and advocacy campaigns. Activities across Francophone Africa included: 

  • Social mobilization and awareness sessions held with schools and key stakeholders, including journalists and youth representatives in Senegal 
  • Capacity-building meetings and conferences in Benin and Guinea
  • Interactive broadcasts and public conferences in Burkina Faso
  • Conferences with key stakeholders, film screenings and TV debates in Niger 

It’s excellent to see so many like-minded organizations from different countries and sectors join the call to end NTDs. As CSOs, it is our job to hold leaders accountable, mobilize communities and voice concerns of the marginalized, and with such incredible support this year, we are optimistic that we can beat NTDs, together!

added Dame Ndiaye, President of the No to NTD CSO Network

Speak Up Africa has also partnered with 7 journalists from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo for the “Lines of Impact” project, which seeks to build capacity for reporting on NTDs, and create high-quality in-depth coverage of these widespread diseases.

Neglected Tropical Diseases continue to affect millions of people in Africa – often in poor communities that lack access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. Although these debilitating diseases affect people’s lives, they remain under-reported in the media. As journalists, we must shine the light on marginalized people living with NTDs and work closely with civil societies to amplify their voices and ensure that ‘No one is left behind’.

underlined Abdullahi Tsanni, an independent scientific journalist from Nigeria who participated in the project.

This year, partners from around the global, and across sectors are joining together to commemorate the day.

NTDs, affect the poorest and most marginalized communities, and we must ensure that these people continue receiving necessary and life-saving treatment. It’s inspiring to see so many of our partners come together by saying No to NTDs to support this common vision. Together, with this support, we can beat NTDs.

ended Yacine Djibo, Executive Director, Speak Up Africa

For further information on World NTD Day, partners involved, and how to get involved in the day, visit World NTD Day page


Notes to Editors

About Speak Up Africa

Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a strategic communications and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa.

Through our platforms and relationships and with the help of our partners, we ensure that policy makers meet implementers; that solutions are showcased and that every sector – from individual citizens and civil society groups to global donors and business leaders – contributes critically to the dialogue and strives to form the blueprints for concrete action for public health and sustainable development. 

About the No to NTDs Movement 

The « No to NTDs » movement, led by Speak Up Africa, aims to increase awareness, prioritization and national commitment to accelerate the control and elimination of NTDs in Africa.
For more information, visit No To NTDs website

Find out more on:

  • Speak Up Africa Website
  • Twitter: @SpeakUpAfrica1   
  • Facebook: @SpeakUpAfrica
  • Instagram: @speakupafrica
  • LinkedIn
  • Journalist WhatsApp Group: +221 77 187 76 94 

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