To mark the event, Sightsavers country offices organised celebrations, and health workers took to the field to provide pop-up clinics. Monuments and buildings around the world were also illuminated in orange and purple, including the Kigali convention centre in Rwanda.
Thousands of people showed their support online, with more than 300 posts on Sightsavers’ social media wall. This online platform enabled global supporters, governments, donors and partners to share their messages of commitment and encouragement, using the #BeatNTDs and #PlayYourPart hashtags.
Here you can see how Sightsavers marked this year’s event around the globe.
What better way to celebrate than by helping people affected by NTDs? This was the approach taken by health workers in Uganda, who spent the day finding and treating several people with lymphatic filariasis.
One of the patients treated at Adiel Health Centre was Oloya Vincent. Oloya said: “We can’t rest yet! We’re still committed to eliminating these terrible diseases in our lifetime.”
Elsewhere in Uganda, surgeons received refresher training to help them perform surgery for advanced trachoma.
Health workers marked the day by visiting communities in the city of Korhogo, where they were able to identify people who needed treatment for leprosy, scabies and lymphatic filariasis. This case-finding exercise was accompanied by NTD Scientific Days at Korhogo University, involving more than 50 scientific presentations about various diseases.
Celebrations culminated in an event at the Womiegnon Cultural Centre to raise awareness of leprosy and other NTDs. The event included speeches by government officials, along with prayers and traditional performances.
“My name is Dr Gladys Atto. I wanted to be a doctor since I was a child, and I am very proud to be an ophthalmologist and have an impact on people’s lives.”
Dr Hawa Naiga Magembe is studying ophthalmology in Uganda with the help of a scholarship provided by Sightsavers’ inclusive eye health programme.
Since 1991, Sightsavers been helping Mali’s ministry of health to treat and prevent this blinding disease. Now the country is on track to banish it for good.