30 Jan 2023

Act Now. Act Together. Invest in Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are ancient diseases and today, they should be easily preventable and curable. Despite this NTDs still inflict pain, deformity and death today around the world. Today one fifth of the world’s population —1.65 billion people — are at risk from NTDs and require public health interventions.

Today, on World NTD Day, we are joining our partners to make it clear why the world needs to act now, act together and invest in NTDs.

Act Now. The global effort to control, eliminate, and eradicate NTDs gained significant momentum over the past ten years since the signing of the London Declaration. Since 2010, we’ve seen tremendous progress with 46 countries having eliminated at least one NTD, and the number of people requiring interventions having dropped by 25%, from 2.19 billion in 2010 to 1.65 billion in 2021. This momentum, however, needs continued action if we’re to meet the goals of the 2030 NTD roadmap. Now is not the time to relax efforts – now is the time for action.

Act Together. The NTD movement is one of the best instances of cooperation and collaboration in global development. In 2012, governments, multilateral organisations, philanthropic donors, NGOs and pharmaceutical corporations came together to make a commitment to controlling, eliminating, or eradicating all NTDs, signing the London Declaration and introducing the WHO Roadmap. This collaborative approach needs to continue, and we need to ensure that we do more to widen this coalition. This includes doing more to ensure that the perspectives of communities most affected by NTDs are core to the design of public health interventions.

Invest in Neglected Tropical Diseases. At CIFF we are working with our partners and ministries of health to accelerate progress on the NTD roadmap goals for 2021–2030 in over 25 countries. We’re focusing on the fight against lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, onchocerciasis, trachoma, and Guinea worm disease. Through catalytic investments our aim is to find innovative solutions, scale up what works, as well as share our learnings and experiences.


CIFF’s work on NTDs

Initially, CIFF supported the establishment of national deworming programmes for school-age children in Kenya, India and Ethiopia, treating millions of children annually. Now, we are working with our partners to find lasting solutions and drive innovation in the field.

For example, with our partner Sightsavers, we are investing to accelerate the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem in over 10 African countries, while improving integrated NTD services and delivering life-saving azithromycin treatments to young children.

In Ethiopia, we are supporting a number of partners to execute an implementation research project, Geshiyaro. This project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of breaking transmission of soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis through community-wide mass drug administration (MDA), improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and comprehensive social and behavioural change communication interventions. Through Geshiyaro we are also using biometric technology to verify treatment coverage.

In other investments, we are providing thousands of sight-saving surgeries to clear the trichiasis backlog of Ethiopia, working with ministries of health and other partners to design and deliver sustainable NTD interventions, systems and new funding models.

Over the past ten years, the outcomes of our collaborative efforts as a global community have been extraordinary. To meet the goals of the 2030 NTD roadmap, it is imperative that we continue to employ all available strategies and tools, in addition to making strides toward the development of novel preventive, therapeutic, and diagnostic methods.

If we’re to see an end to NTDs in our generation, we must act now, act together and make smarter investments in NTDs.