Beginning on January 21st , USAID's Act to End NTDs |West program countries implemented a variety of activities in recognition of the 2022 World NTD Day to raise awareness and educate communities about the effects of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The day also served as an opportunity to publicize the need for collaboration and institutionalizing NTD elimination and control programming across public and private sectors.
Cote d’Ivoire led the initiation of World NTD Day activities on January 21st by conducting community awareness and screening events for NTDs in Korhogo health districts 1 and 2. The Cote d’Ivoire Ministry of Health led a round table panel during Scientific Days Conference, which was held at the University of Korhogo (UPGC) on January 28th and 29th. These activities culminated with a World NTD Day celebration on the 30th which featured entertainment and speeches.
Benin and Niger each took part in illuminating public squares. Benin also held a presentation on NTDs for students at the Institute of Nursing and Obstetrical Care of the University of Parakou, which was followed by a demonstration on elephantiasic foot washing. After the conclusion of their events, Benin’s PNLMT created and had their summary video of their celebration activities posted on Les Angles D’Afrique’s (Angles of Africa) YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn pages. Niger set up an illumination at the Place de Concertation in Niamey.
Guinea recognized World NTD Day with the production of a music video about behavior change, ending neglect and involvement in the fight against NTDs and also commissioned the painting of a mural on each of the five NTDs in Forécariah.
Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo all celebrated World NTD day with press briefings and ceremonies that included NTD presentations, speeches and remarks by health ministry officials, WHO representatives and other VIPs. Cameroon’s ceremony, which was combined with the World Day of Fight against Leprosy included Circle of Friends of Cameroon, a humanitarian organization founded and chaired by the First Lady of Cameroon and was also attended by representatives from WHO and Cameroon’s Ministry of Health. As a result, the event was covered by at least 10 print media outlets. Ghana and Senegal each hosted health walks just before their ceremonies that were participated by community health workers and civil actors, youth. Ghana’s ceremony included a skit performed by a local drama group that highlights challenges in health equity of NTD services, speeches by key dignitaries and partners. Mali’s press conference ceremony included a musical performance by singers, remarks made by USAID mission representative Kathleen Frank and presentations on challenges, perspectives and proposed solutions to fight NTDs.
Sierra Leone’s stakeholder meeting and press briefing included remarks made by the WHO NTD Focal Point, Ministry of Health Representative, US Ambassador to Sierra Leone. Togo’s World NTD Day celebration also featured a press conference and speeches by local and international dignitaries such as the prefect mayor, a representative from WHO, the US Ambassador to Togo and remarks by the Togo Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Access to Care.
Since 2006, when USAID started supporting African countries in eliminating or controlling NTDs, two Act | West countries have achieved in eliminating at least one disease: Togo (2017, Lymphatic Filariasis); Ghana (2018, Trachoma). In addition, Cote d’Ivoire (2020), Senegal (2021), Togo (2021), Mali, Niger and Sierra Leone (2022) have each completed an NTD sustainability plan.
As of September 2021, over 108 million people in Act | West-supported countries no longer require treatment for lymphatic filariasis and over 74 million people no longer need trachoma treatments.