2021 has been a decisive year: the World Health Organization launched its NTD Road Map 2021-2030, which sets global targets and milestones to prevent, control, eliminate or eradicate these diseases. By 2030, it aims to reduce the number of people requiring treatment by 90 per cent.
Sightsavers is proud to work with a network of local and global partners, supporting governments in more than 30 countries to combat NTDs. Together, we have delivered over 1.2 billion treatments to communities at risk since 2001.
Our largest multiple NTD programme to date is the UK aid-funded Ascend West and Central Africa programme, which aims to treat and make major progress in eliminating five diseases in 13 countries over the next three years. It also supported ministries in 11 programme countries with COVID-19 prevention and preparedness mass media behaviour change campaigns – so far reaching more than 115 million people.
Sightsavers also spearheads the Accelerate programme, which is supporting 14 countries to make significant progress towards eliminating blinding trachoma. In 2020, we adapted these programmes to deliver much-needed treatments in a safe way during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a story of a treatment that travels thousands of miles to reach remote communities that need to be protected from blinding trachoma.
Innovation can solve the world’s biggest problems. Our teams are leading the way to eliminate preventable diseases and tackle inequality worldwide.
More than 35 million treatments to tackle NTDs were given out worldwide in 2020, despite the challenges of COVID-19.
Neglected tropical diseases, a group of parasitic infections, are a major cause of preventable blindness and disability. They affect more than a billion people worldwide and can cause severe and lifelong impairment.
These debilitating diseases are most prevalent in rural regions, poor urban areas and conflict zones. They not only affect people’s health, but they also take away their opportunities to go to school or earn a living. Also, the associated stigma can have a devastating impact on those affected, as well as their families and communities.
Yet neglected tropical diseases can be prevented, treated and eliminated.
Sightsavers and our partners train hundreds of surgeons to provide sight-restoring and pain-relieving surgery; we work with thousands of local volunteers to distribute generously donated treatments; and we conduct in-depth research to evaluate, inform and improve our programme strategies.
Together we are helping to protect people against NTDs, teach them about the importance of good hygiene to prevent infection, and to eliminate these diseases more quickly and fairly.