DONATE

Fight against NTDs continues despite pandemic

January 2021
A man stands for a portrait while wearing a mask.
Lee Danno is helping to coordinate NTD activities in Nimba, Liberia.

More than 35 million treatments were given out in 2020 as part of global efforts to tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), despite the challenges of COVID-19.

The announcement comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) launches a new NTD elimination road map on 28 January and the NTD community marks World NTD Day on 30 January.

Despite the pandemic, in 2020 Sightsavers and partners supported governments to deliver the millions of NTD treatments to combat these preventable and treatable infections that affect more than one billion people worldwide.

In total, ministries of health in 11 African countries delivered more than 35 million preventative treatments for NTDs, with 135 million more treatments due to be delivered by March 2021.

Tens of thousands of community health volunteers and teachers were trained to meet the challenges of COVID-19 while delivering NTD treatments. To make programmes safer, special measures such as masks and social distancing were introduced.

Following lockdown, Nigeria was the first Sightsavers-supported country to resume work on tackling NTDs. Between July and September, around one million people in the northwestern state of Jigawa received antibiotics to treat the painful and potentially blinding disease, trachoma.

In Liberia, Sightsavers quickly adapted its Ascend programme to support the government to address this humanitarian crisis, deploying contact tracers and raising awareness of how the disease spreads.

Simon Bush, director of NTDs at Sightsavers, said: “It is vital that our work continues in these challenging times. NTDs can cause severe debilitating and lifelong physical and visual impairment, and the science tells us that they can be eliminated.

“We need to make sure not only that gains already made are not lost but that we continue to support some of the most marginalised communities even when times are difficult.”

To mark World NTD Day this year, iconic buildings around the world, including the Colosseum in Rome and The Great Wall of China, will be lit up to celebrate hard-earned progress to combat NTDs and to call on the global community to work to eliminate them.

A man holds up a poster to community members during a COVID awareness campaign.

Responding to the COVID-19 crisis

In 2020, we quickly adapted some of our NTD programmes to help in the fight against COVID-19. In Liberia, we launched a public awareness campaign that helped prevent the spread of infection.

On the COVID frontline

Read all our latest news stories

News from Sightsavers
Vainesi smiles and claps outside her home in Malawi.
sightsavers_news

Trachoma is eliminated in Malawi

Malawi has become the first country in southern Africa to eliminate the infectious eye disease trachoma, as confirmed by the World Health Organization.

September 2022
The Queen smiles as she greets staff.
sightsavers_news
News /

Sightsavers pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

We are so very grateful and privileged to have had the Queen’s patronage, and we offer our condolences to the British royal family and all the people closest to her.

September 2022
Ophthalmic nurse Suraju helps a young girl wash her hands using water from a teapot.
sightsavers_news

Sightsavers and RSTMH host learning event on major tropical disease programme

Sightsavers and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene are hosting an event with experts from the Ascend West and Central Africa programme to share key learnings.

September 2022

Learn about our work to save sight