International experts have called on governments and the civil society to join efforts to reduce the impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) that affect more than 1,500 million people in the world, within the frame of the XX International Symposium on this topic that started today online.

During three days, the  International Symposium on Neglected Diseases, organized by Mundo Sano Foundation, will address the real situation of these diseases from the perspectives of international cooperation and research at the benefit of health, as communicated by that organization.

Marcelo Abril, chief executive officer of Mundo Sano, indicated that “the current COVID-19 crisis has shown us the importance of not neglecting the NTDs, those diseases affecting more than 1,500 million people, mainly vulnerable populations living in areas with insufficient or no access to good quality health services, clean water and sanitation”.

On the other hand, Doctor Mwele Ntuli Malecela, director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO), explained that the new Road map 2021-2030 of the international organization is a “tool that aligns efforts across the stakeholders’ groups for the next decade”.

It is focused on fostering cross-cutting approaches”, she added.

Malacela stated that “the overarching targets for 2030 are focused on at least 90% fewer people requiring interventions against NTDs, 75% fewer NTD-related DALYs (Disability-adjusted life years), and 100 countries having eliminated at least one of these diseases”.

She also referred to the cross-cutting targets, such as a 75% increase in integrated coverage of diseases; 90% of the countries being integrated in the NTD international strategic plan, 100% access to water, hygiene and sanitation, and 75% fewer deaths caused by vector-borne diseases.

In turn, the president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), Julie Jacobson, highlighted that meeting the targets of the Road map 2030 for NTDs is “a unique opportunity to change the life of 1,700 million people suffering from neglected diseases, and to achieve this, we need a cross-sector approach, we need many partners in many places participating to solve these health challenges”.

In her lecture, Mirta Roses, Director Emeritus of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) referred to leprosy, one of the most overlooked among the neglected diseases, and the current possibilities of achieving its elimination in 2030.

She stated that it is necessary to «implement the integrated road map of ‘Zero Leprosy’ in all the endemic countries and to combat stigma and ensure respect for human rights”.

Roses also stated that, in the case of Argentina, the key points to eliminate leprosy are “political support and reinforcement of the National Programme and provincial networks, and funding and alliances with social, business and education sectors”.

The event will continue this Wednesday with the presence of Michael Reich, Professor Emeritus at International Health Policy Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who will give a lecture on “Universal health coverage with quality caring service”.

Source: Télam

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