Tuesday, 28 May 2013

NTDs at the World Health Assembly

Members of the UK Coalition against NTDs recently attended the World Health Assembly in Geneva to support the passing of a resolution on neglected tropical diseases. The resolution urges Member States to ensure country ownership of NTD programmes and supports an integrated approache to achieve the World Health Organisation NTD roadmap targets.

Read our statement to the World Health Assembly (presented by Sightsavers):

"Thank you, Chair, for the opportunity to address the World Health Assembly on behalf of Sightsavers who currently Chair the UK Coalition against neglected tropical diseases. We are pleased to share our support for this resolution and its recognition of the importance of NTDs to global health.

We welcome Dr Chan’s support for NTDs. This leadership is essential and needed more than ever to reach our ambitious control, elimination and eradication targets by 2020. WHO recognition that increased investment in NTDs has improved health and social well-being in many countries is valued- and we commend the political will that this resolution demonstrates.

This resolution represents a transformative milestone, continuing the positive momentum generated by the London Declaration and the WHO Road Map. We applaud the recognition that NTDs represent a major global health priority and that partnership, collaboration and integration must form the bedrock of the drive to end NTDs. This partnership must include endemic country governments, NGOs, donors and pharmaceutical companies.  

We look to WHO member states to lead the charge and ensure that the resolution’s implementation realises the need for cross-sectoral collaboration across planning, programme implementation monitoring and evaluation. Endemic countries must be supported to implement NTD programmes in an integrated, community-led way, targeting the poorest and most marginalised populations and delivering sustainable, lasting change.

The elimination of NTDs rests on consistent action to tackle their structural determinants. In particular, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services represent a major safeguard against many of the NTDs and should be promoted and supported as part of a cross-sectoral commitment to reaching the WHO’s 2020 targets.

We encourage endemic country Member States to bring together all relevant NTD stakeholders including health, water and education actors to drive forward cross-sectoral action.  NTD implementation plans must be aligned with wider health systems based on primary health care with strong community participation and cross-sectoral collaboration if they are to be sustainable.

As partners actively engaged in the implementation, capacity building and research of NTDs, the UK Coalition will continue to support a cross-sectoral approach- championing efforts to develop the diversity and breadth of stakeholders involved in NTDs.

NTDs are diseases of poverty; afflicting those who are subject to low access to water and sanitation services, poor or limited access to health care and overcrowded living conditions. NTD control and elimination will contribute to increased education outcomes, economic productivity and it will reduce social inequalities in health within and between countries. We have the tools and the knowledge of what needs to be done to end the suffering caused by NTDs. However our ambition to end these"