Beyond COVID: Prioritizing NTD agenda and sustainable local financing

Beyond COVID: Prioritizing NTD agenda and sustainable local financing

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

By: Dr. Claire Chaumont

NAIROBI, Kenya, 25 January 2021, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- With over 96 million cases confirmed and over two million deaths over a period of about one year, COVID-19 has established itself as a truly global pandemic affecting all the countries in the world and several aspects of human life, including other core global health issues such as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

NTDs are a set of parasitic, bacterial and viral diseases that affect more than one billion people in the world. Among those diseases, five NTDs can be controlled through preventive chemotherapy (trachoma, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, intestinal worms, and bilharzia). The Africa region bears 39% of the global burden of disease for these five diseases. In addition, across the region, it is estimated that 271 million school age children require preventive chemotherapy for intestinal worms (soil-transmitted helminths) in 2018 and 204 million for schistosomiasis. Controlling or eliminating these diseases has obvious health gains for the populations affected, as they create substantial illness and lifelong impairment. In addition, there are staggering potential economic gains from eliminating them. According to a new report, eliminating schistosomiasis and intestinal worms as a public health problem by 2030 could boost productivity by $5.1 billion in purchasing power parity (PPP) between 2021 and 2040, and increase wages by $1.2 billion in PPP.

In the spring of 2020, mass drug administration (MDA) campaigns for these five diseases were suspended, alongside disease-specific surveys aimed at assessing the impact of NTD programs, and morbidity care and surgeries for patients such as those suffering from trachomatous trichiasis (linked to trachoma infection) or hydrocele (linked to lymphatic filariasis infection).

According to the NTD Modelling Consortium (a consortium of infectious diseases epidemiologists and modelers), delayed treatments will delay countries’ ability to achieve their NTD control and elimination targets. This delay depends on the initial prevalence of the disease in each country, as well as transmission patterns for each parasite. For instance, in places where trachoma prevalence is high, they estimate that a 1-year delay in MDA may extend elimination timelines by 2 to 3 years.
Moreover, beyond the short-term impact on NTD services and its potential effects on health outcomes, experts have also noted that the pandemic would have long term impacts on funding for NTDs, governments’ prioritisation and service delivery.

Getting back on track
Despite the delay by COVID-19, efforts are being made to avoid setbacks as NTD activities are slowly restarting across countries, following guidance from the World Health Organization which has published guidelines on how to safely restart mass treatment, active case-findings and surveys in July 2020.

As the only private philanthropic initiative dedicated to ending the five most prevalent NTDs, the END Fund is actively engaged with all the governments it supports to ensure that safety is guaranteed for both individuals receiving treatment and care, and frontline workers. It is doing so by engaging in extensive assessments to ensure it is safe to restart activities. It is also funding personal protective equipment to frontline workers, among other measures. Stakeholders are also looking into how to deliver schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths (STH) treatments for kids through door-to-door activities rather than through schools while the latter are closed.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has also provided an opportunity to rethink how MDA programs are delivered with the goal of compensating for the impact of the current covid-19 crisis, but also to make sure the ambitious goals of the new WHO 2030 Roadmap, which sets targets for NTDs by 2030 can be achieved. Special attention is now being given to the integration of the distribution of NTD treatments with other campaign-based activities, such as nutrition programs or immunization campaigns. Activities are also ongoing gearing towards getting innovative ways to better deliver services, including the use of new technologies such as satellite imaging to ensure all populations in an area are reached.

Looking ahead and beyond COVID-19
Even though COVID-19 has been a major concern for stakeholders tracking progress in the control of NTDs, the pandemic is not the only factor that could affect NTD activities which are also predisposed to several other external events. Recent examples include the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe in 2019, which both postponed MDA activities in the countries. Nonetheless, as we approach the second annual World NTD Day, we celebrate all the strides made in ensuring that treatments are delivered to the most far-fetched communities even in these difficult situations.

Without mincing words, NTDs, despite the burden they represent, often fail to attract the attention from policymakers and implementers. Ensuring that they are high on the political agenda is key towards ensuring NTD programs can continue adequately. Appropriate financing is a second piece.
There is a real risk that, with the current COVID-19 crisis, NTD programs may receive even less attention than they already do. The END Fund is making sure that NTDs remain high on the health agenda of governments and at the international level. This is a priority for the END Fund and for the entire sector.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the END Fund

About the END Fund:

The END Fund is the only private philanthropic initiative solely dedicated to ending the five most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which affect more than 1.7 billion people globally. It efficiently puts private capital to work, advocating for NTD programs that are innovative, integrated, and cost-effective. It facilitates strong partnerships with the private sector and has supported national disease control programs in 30 countries.

Since its founding in 2012, with its partners, the END Fund has provided over 740 million donated treatments worth over $1 billion, over 12,900 surgeries for people suffering from the effects of the advanced stages of elephantiasis and trachoma, and trained more than 1.4 million people in NTD control and elimination efforts.

You might also enjoy

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Conférence de Presse en Ligne


Les frontiĂšres terrestres ne doivent pas constituer des obstacles Ă  la dissĂ©mination de votre message. GrĂące Ă  notre service de confĂ©rence de presse en ligne, nous vous offrons l’opportunitĂ© de vous rapprocher des mĂ©dias africains, chaque fois que vous en aurez besoin.​

Nos services comprennent:​

​

​

Digital Communications


Today, social networks constitute an organization’s first point of contact with a user and a potential customer. At first glance, you need to convince of the relevance and quality of your content to stimulate and motivate the user to go further. We create consistently inspiring online strategy to meet business objectives, engage stakeholders and enhance our client brand’s reputation internally and externally.​

 

Communication​ digitale


Les rĂ©seaux sociaux reprĂ©sentent aujourd’hui le premier point de contact d’une organisation avec un utilisateur et un client potentiel. Au premier coup d’Ɠil, vous devez le convaincre de la pertinence et de la qualitĂ© de votre contenu pour l’inciter Ă  aller plus loin. Nous crĂ©ons pour vous une stratĂ©gie de communication prĂ©cise et adaptĂ©e sur les rĂ©seaux sociaux pour atteindre les objectifs commerciaux, impliquer les parties prenantes et amĂ©liorer la rĂ©putation de votre marque en interne et en externe.​

Promotion​ d’Ă©vĂ©nements


Le succĂšs d’un Ă©vĂ©nement rĂ©side en moitiĂ© dans sa promotion. Peu importe la beautĂ© de l’évĂ©nement, la qualitĂ© des orateurs et de l’ordre du jour, si personne ne rapporte ou ne parle de votre Ă©vĂ©nement, vos efforts seront vains. Nous vous aidons Ă  façonner votre rĂ©cit et Ă  crĂ©er un engouement autour de votre Ă©vĂ©nement. De l’annonce de l’Ă©vĂ©nement Ă  la tenue de celui-ci, nous accompagnons votre effort de planification et le reflĂ©tons sur toutes les plateformes mĂ©diatiques.​

Formation​ MĂ©diatique


Nous fournissons Ă  vos porte-paroles les outils nĂ©cessaires pour prĂ©senter vos principaux messages et rĂ©pondre avec confiance et cohĂ©rence aux questions. Notre formation est organisĂ©e soit Ă  distance ou en prĂ©sentiel, avec des Ă©tudes de cas rĂ©els et des rĂ©pĂ©titions. Nos clients repartent avec le sentiment d’ĂȘtre Ă  l’aise devant les journalistes et d’agir en tant qu’ambassadeurs de la marque.​

Veille​ MĂ©diatique


Nous mesurons votre portĂ©e en relations publiques et rendons compte des informations de votre industrie et des activitĂ©s de vos  concurrents en surveillant la majoritĂ© des canaux de diffusion dans toute l’Afrique. Une veille mĂ©diatique complĂšte et opportune est essentielle pour s’assurer que vous ne manquez aucune rĂ©fĂ©rence Ă  votre marque, que vous ĂȘtes constamment informĂ© de ce qui se passe dans votre industrie et que vous ĂȘtes prĂȘt Ă  saisir les opportunitĂ©s et Ă  rĂ©duire les risques en temps opportun.​

Relations​ MĂ©dia


Peu importe le lieu oĂč ils se trouvent, nous sommes une source d‘informations fiables pour les journalistes qui Ă©crivent sur l’Afrique. Nous nous connaissons mutuellement et ils nous font confiance, car nous leur fournissons un contenu crĂ©dible qui les aide dans leurs tĂąches. Nous nous entretenons quotidiennement avec des journalistes aux quatre coins du continent, ce qui fait de nous l’un des organismes les plus efficaces pour mener des campagnes de relations avec les mĂ©dias.

Stratégie et développement de contenu


Nous crĂ©ons des stratĂ©gies de communication intelligentes, bien documentĂ©es et spĂ©cialisĂ©es destinĂ©es Ă  vous aider Ă  construire un rĂ©cit fort qui engagera votre audience. Nous travaillons en synergie avec vous afin de rĂ©diger des communiquĂ©s de presse et des articles d’opinions qui alimentent le rĂ©cit de votre entreprise. Notre Ă©quipe a une expĂ©rience approfondie dans la crĂ©ation de rĂ©cits et le dĂ©veloppement de contenu multimĂ©dia.

DIFFUSION DE COMMUNIQUES​ DE PRESSE​


C’est le service phare d’AMA. Nous avons mis en place des canaux de diffusion des communiquĂ©s de presse auprĂšs des journalistes des 54 États africains ainsi qu’auprĂšs des journalistes amĂ©ricains et europĂ©ens couvrant les sujets relatifs aux marchĂ©s Ă©mergents.​

​Nos services comprennent:​

​

​

Event Promotion


Half of the success of an event lays in its promotion. Doesn’t matter how beautiful the event is, how wonderful the speakers and the agenda are, if no one reports or talks about your event, your efforts are gone. We help you shape the narrative and create a drumbeat around your event. From the announce all the way to the outcome of the event, we accompany your planning effort and echo it through all media platforms

Media Training


We provide your spokespeople with the tools to present your key messages and answer questions with confidence and coherence. Our training is organised either remotely or face-to- face, with real case studies and rehearsals. Our clients leave feeling comfortable being in front of reporters and acting as brand ambassadors.

Media Monitoring


We measure and report on
your PR reach, industry news, and competitive activity by monitoring most channels in North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Comprehensive and timely media monitoring is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss any reporting of your brand,
you’re constantly informed on what’s going on around your business, and you’re ready to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate
risks in a timely fashion..

Media Relations


We have become an authoritative source of news for reporters writing about Africa, wherever they are. We know them, they know us, and they trust us for providing them with timely and accurate content that helps them do their job. We speak to reporters on a daily basis in all corners of the continent and this makes us one of the most effective agencies in running media relations campaigns.

Strategy & Content Development


We create smart and localised communications strategies to help build a strong narrative that will engage your audiences. We partner with you to create press releases and thought leadership pieces that sustain a drumbeat for your company’s narrative. Our team have deep experience in shaping narratives and developing media content.

PRESS RELEASE WIRE DISTRIBUTION

This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to Africa.com

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available