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SHINING A LIGHT ON NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES

One hundred landmarks in 32 countries – including Niagara Falls and the CN Tower in Canada – lit up in unity to mark the third annual World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Day on Jan. 30. World NTD Day supports the goal of the World Health Organization to eliminate at least one NTD from 100 endemic countries by 2030.

Originally announced in Abu Dhabi in 2019, the 100 ‘light ups’ sought to shine a light on NTDs, a group of communicable diseases that are considered preventable and treatable, yet continue to affect more than 1.7 billion people worldwide, including 1 billion children.

There are 20 NTDs that cause immeasurable suffering – they debilitate, disfigure and can be fatal, at the same time creating cycles of poverty and costing developing nations billions of dollars every year.

To that end, World NTD Day has become a global movement that aims to galvanize the global health community and engage the public in the urgent effort to end NTDs.

“Building on the success of the London Declaration on NTDs, and recognizing the changing global landscape, we are using World NTD Day 2022 as a catalyst for action,” announced Thoko Pooley, Executive Director of Uniting to Combat NTDs. “We are launching the ‘100% Committed’ campaign, a global movement to secure increased resources for neglected tropical diseases, and crucially to facilitate political leadership and ownership of NTD programs from affected countries, through endorsements and signatories behind the new Kigali Declaration on NTDs.”

CN Tower, photo – Jonathan Gazze

Through UAE-helmed diplomatic efforts to obtain official recognition of the day, World NTD Day was officially recognized by the WHO in May 2021 and the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi continues to play a leading role in the mission.

“World NTD Day represents an important catalyst to translate awareness into action – it is not only crucial for the public to know more about these diseases, but also for donors, endemic countries and other stakeholders to collaborate to bring an end to NTDs in affected countries,” said Nassar Al Mubarak, Sr. Director at the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi.

“Over the past few decades, incredible progress has been made towards ending NTDs; however, one in five people in the most vulnerable communities around the world are still affected by these preventable and treatable diseases,” he continued. “We are pleased to see the Day providing a platform for raising awareness through the new 100% Committed campaign and efforts such as the light-up activation. We hope that this movement continues to gain traction and spark new partnerships and commitments necessary to beat NTDs for good.”

This year “light-up” sites included The Bell Tower in Perth, Tokyo Tower, Great Wall of China, New Delhi Railway Station, Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi, Expo 2020 Dubai, Kenyatta International Convention Centre, The Rome Colosseum, Jet d’ Eau, Niagara Falls, CN Tower, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, and Christ the Redeemer.

A special focus was placed on notable landmarks in endemic countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Sudan.

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

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