2024 World NTD Day in West Africa
World NTD Day1
 
Most of the 11 West African countries within USAID’s Act to End NTDs | West program celebrated the 5th World NTD Day on January 30, 2024. The day is aimed at raising awareness around neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and the serious and even debilitating effects they can have on communities. This year’s World NTD Day theme was “Unite. Act. Eliminate.”

 

World NTD Day2AIn addition to their official ceremony which featured speeches from Ministry of Health representatives and other stakeholders, Benin held a marathon race, an NTD exchange forum for women and their husbands, and educational talks in local primary schools to educate schoolchildren on the prevention of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis.

 

Burkina Faso’s event featured activities to raise awareness about NTDs, including: short films that showcased local NTD interventions, informational booths about in-country NTD efforts, and speeches by health authorities. Meanwhile, Cameroon combined their World NTD Day celebration with World Leprosy Day and highlighted achievements and actions taken to control NTDs.  
 
Ghana’s commemoration event brought together partners and stakeholders to highlight the importance of uniting to act in eliminating NTDs in the country. World NTD Day3 In addition, the country held interviews with radio and TV stations to raise awareness about NTDs and how patients can access treatment. Guinea hosted an event targeting university students, which included an NTD roundtable where experts shared their knowledge on NTDs, highlighted recent advances, and explored effective strategies and innovative initiatives. The country also held an ‘open day’ where students attended interactive presentations, explored exhibits illustrating different aspects of NTDs, and participated in informal discussions.
 
In Senegal, a high-level panel spoke on how to accelerate progress in the fight against NTDs by engaging multiple sectors, One Health, and the community engagement, while also increasing financing for NTD work. Sierra Leone delivered a packed slate of activities, from a week-long media campaign to boost stakeholder engagement to a 3-kilometer health walk that drew over 200 participants, followed by personal testimonies from people affected by complications from NTDs.

 

World NTD Day4As part of Niger’s events, local participants could listen to remarks from the NTD program, WHO, and the Carter Center, participate in a health walk, observe a conference debate with health schools and students, or watch a TV debate that covered NTD achievements, perspectives, and challenges and also involved health schools and students.
Finally, Togo celebrated with two distinct events: mobile health consultations held on January 29th-30th and a traveling caravan on January 30th. The consultations targeted people affected by skin NTDs and included free treatment. The traveling caravan was made up of students, health workers, and other social mobilization actors. Once the caravan reached the gathering spot, it featured speeches from government representatives and other stakeholders along with performances from local folk groups.

 

As of the end of January 2024, eight Act | West countries World NTD Day 5 have politically validated their NTD sustainability plans, four countries have moved forward with integrating NTD-related disabilities into national health insurance/UHC package of services, and six countries have conducted high-level stakeholder engagement to mobilize domestic financial resources to sustain NTD program work. 

 

In addition, since last year’s World NTD Day, two countries (Benin and Mali) held events to celebrate being validated by the WHO as having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem.