2024: Sightsavers Nigeria calls to action for an NTD-Free future

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By Palma Ileye

As the world unites to observe World Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTD Day, on January 30th, 2024, Sightsavers Nigeria has called for intensified efforts to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTDs, and ensure a healthier future for all.

According to a press release issued by Sightsavers Nigeria, Communication Associate, Joy Tarbo, this World NTD Day, Sightsavers Nigeria has urged Governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to work together to speed up progress towards eliminating NTDs which were a barrier to health, education, and economic development.

With the national theme for World NTD Day 2024 ‘Unite, act and eliminate through awareness and sensitization’ Sightsavers Nigeria has reaffirmed its commitment to helping achieve the ambitious targets set for the next decade.

Dr Sunday Isiyaku, Country Director at Sightsavers Nigeria said, “On World NTD Day, we stand committed to eliminate neglected tropical diseases that affect millions across the globe. Our collective efforts are crucial in reaching the World Health Organization’s 2030 targets and ensuring no one is left behind in the journey towards universal health.”

He added, “Sightsavers Nigeria is calling for new funding, continued government leadership and support from partners to improve people’s lives, as well as their ability to contribute to their communities and the economy. In Nigeria we are specifically calling on philanthropists and private organisations to support the fight against NTDs – their backing can make a profound impact.”

Echoing this sentiment, Dr Fatai Oyediran, National Coordinator NTDs emphasized, “Sightsavers’ dedication to the NTD cause is commendable. Collaborations between NGOs, governments, and communities are imperative to accelerate progress and achieve the ambitious goals set for NTD elimination.”

He continued: “I assure of Federal Government’s continuous support to Sightsavers and all NGDO Partners by providing an enabling environment and leadership direction that will fast track the elimination target by the year 2030 in line with the renewed hope agenda of the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

“Through strategic partnerships, innovative programs, and community engagement, Sightsavers Nigeria continues to make significant strides in the prevention, treatment, and elimination of neglected tropical diseases. Since 2004 Sightsavers Nigeria has supported more than 590 million treatments for trachoma, river blindness (onchocerciasis), lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis and intestinal worms (soil transmitted helminths) and more than 109,000 operations for people with advanced trachoma (trachomatous trichiasis) and hydrocele.

“In 2023, the World Health Organization confirmed 51 countries have now eliminated at least one NTD – including Benin and Mali which eliminated trachoma in 2023, Malawi which eliminated lymphatic filariasis in 2020 and trachoma in 2022 and Togo which has eliminated three NTDs. The world is more than halfway to the WHO’s goal of eliminating 100 NTDs from countries by 2030, an incredible achievement in global health, but with more than one billion people around the world still at risk from NTDs there is still much more to do,” the statement added.