Ghana would on Monday, April 17, join the rest of the world to mark the World Health Organization’s (WHO), second Global Partners Meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Summit, which will mark the fifth anniversary of the London Declaration, a historic document signed by leaders from diverse sectors committed to controlling, eliminating or eradicating 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020, will end on 20th April, 2017.
The summit to be hosted by WHO and the NTD community would include; technical discussions with partners to define a clear path towards the 2020 goals and beyond.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Dr Nana Kwadwo Biritwum, Programme Manager of NTD of the Ghana Health Service said the summit would be the height of a year-long celebration marking the progress made over the decade.
Since the London Declaration, fewer people are suffering from these disabling diseases and many countries are eliminating them entirely.
NTDs are a group of debilitating infectious diseases such as elephantiasis, river blindness and trachoma that affect the world’s poorest communities.
These gains, he said were made possible by strong global partnerships, country leadership and investments in innovation and technology.
The 2017 summit marks the 5th anniversary of the WHO’s roadmap on NTDs and the London Declaration and to celebrate this milestone, “Uniting to Combat NTDs”.
The event, which would also launch the Fourth WHO Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases, will recognise achievements of the past decade, sustain support towards the 2020 WHO Roadmap targets, and call on partners to facilitate availability of resources needed beyond 2020.
Representatives of Member States, donor agencies, foundations, the private sector, academia and stakeholders and pharmaceutical companies are expected to attend.
The theme, “Collaborate, Accelerate, Eliminate”, summarises an exemplary informal collaboration with WHO since the first partners’ meeting was held in 2007 and marked a ‘turning point’ in global efforts to control and eliminate the poverty-related diseases.
During the past five years and due to an enhanced coordination and collaboration in delivering interventions to affected populations, nearly one billion people were treated for at least one neglected tropical disease in 2015 alone.
WHO looks forward to welcoming new actors to further support and sustain the current drive by integrating NTD interventions into national health systems and implementing cross-sectoral approaches to achieve universal health coverage against NTDs by 2030, in line with target 3.3 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The summit will celebrate the community’s achievements over the past five years and plan for the future as we aim to control, eliminate and eradicate 10 neglected tropical diseases.