Sightsavers’ neglected tropical disease work wins media awards

April 2021
A poster displayed on a wall featuring the text Avoid crowded-up places to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Ascend programme adapted its work to raise awareness of COVID-19 through posters, TV commercials and radio jingles.

Sightsavers-supported projects tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have won two media awards from the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD).

The Mass Media Award recognised the communications campaign run by Ascend West & Central Africa, a UK aid-funded programme working to speed up the elimination of five NTDs. At the beginning of 2020, the programme rapidly  adapted its usual work to help the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working in partnership with national ministries of heath and M&C Saatchi World Services, Ascend West & Central Africa developed a behaviour change campaign aimed at tackling misinformation on COVID-19 and encouraging people to adopt behaviour such as social distancing to prevent the spread of disease. The campaign included TV commercials, billboards and radio jingles to share the messages. The programme also helped to train more than 13,000 volunteers and frontline health workers to help at local levels.

ISNTD’s annual Photo Award was given to the NTD research programme Countdown for a photography exhibition in Nigeria. The programme used Photovoice, a research method that puts participants first by enabling them to capture their own images and tell their stories.

Countdown used the Photovoice method in the Nigerian states of Kwara and Kaduna to enable people with NTDs to share their experiences of living with disease through photography. These first-hand insights will then be used to shape the later stages of the project.

The ISNTD awards are presented at an annual festival recognising the most exciting and successful communication efforts in the past year around neglected tropical diseases and global health.

Children in Malawi queue up to have their eyes checked by an eye health worker.

How we’re fighting neglected tropical diseases

Sightsavers helps to treat and prevent five diseases that affect more than a billion people. These parasitic and bacterial infections are known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Sightsavers and NTDs

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