Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are diseases that cause human suffering, devastating social and economic burden among the poor and marginalized members of society. They are a diverse group of diseases that include bacterial, viral, parasitic, fungal, and non-communicable origin (Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease). NTDs remain a public health problem that affects populations left behind by development in the most vulnerable countries and communities. They impose a devastating human, social and economic burden on the affected communities and persons worldwide. The national governments have deployed various interventions and programs as contributions towards achieving universal health coverage and total elimination of NTDs. Globally, as of 2020, there were 42 countries, territories and areas that have eliminated at least one NTD.

NTDs impair physical and cognitive development, contribute to mother and child illness and death, make it difficult to farm or earn a living, and limit productivity in the workplace. As a result, NTDs trap individuals and communities in a cycle of poverty and disease. There are twenty NTDs that are in the process of elimination. According to Joyce Onsongo, the NTD advisor, eight countries have managed to eliminate at least one NTD. WHO has partnered with a global pharmaceutical company to bring the drugs at no cost to the affected areas. This records that there is a good progress to eliminate NTDs. This year’s World NTD Day theme was:

  • ACT NOW: We must make our voices heard by reaching out to governments and world leaders.
  • ACT TOGETHER: Everyone has a key role to play. Bringing invigorated attention to NTDs, cultivating political will, and mobilizing resources paired with putting individuals and communities at the center of the response, we can collectively generate the attention and resources needed to deliver against the set targets.
  • INVEST IN NTDs: Investing in NTDs is a global health and development success story. It will go a long way in decreasing the number of cases that need intervention.

The event was celebrated in Rabuor, Kisumu County through the leadership of the Ministry of Health (MoH) Division of Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases (DVBNTDs) with support from several partners such as The End Fund, the African Institute for Health and Development (AIHD), Amref Health Care, Arise Fund, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), KENTTEC, WHO, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Kenya Snakebite Research and Intervention Centre, Nagasaki University, The Fred Hollows Foundation, Evidence Action, Médecins Sans Frontières, The County Government of Kisumu, H.E Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, Hon. Salasya Peter Kalerwa, Jackie Vike (popularly known as Awinja Nyamwalo) and many other who contributed towards the successful event . This day ignites reflection on the suffering caused by NTDs; celebrates the people tackling the burden and the accomplishments of the global NTD community; and garners more support towards their control, elimination, and eradication by the year 2030 through the World Health Organization NTD road map.


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