The Commonwealth is a diverse community of 53 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace. In April 2018, the UK will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to reaffirm common values and discuss challenges. 46 Commonwealth nations are endemic for at least one neglected tropical disease – addressing this issue will be key to creating a better future for all citizens.
What are neglected tropical diseases?
Neglected tropical diseases are a group of preventable and treatable diseases that affect 1.5 billion people across the world. The diseases impact the poorest and hardest to reach communities on the planet. By prioritising NTDs, not only will we be reaching the unreached – we will be closer to the aspiration of the SDGs of leaving no one behind.
How do neglected tropical diseases affect the Commonwealth?
46 Commonwealth countries are endemic for at least one neglected tropical disease. With 840 million Commonwealth citizens requiring treatment for these diseases, the Commonwealth represents over 50% of the global NTD burden (of 1.5 billion people worldwide).
Leaving no one behind in the fight against NTDs
The global coverage target for mass treatment of neglected tropical diseases is 80%. In 2016, the Commonwealth reached 66% of people in need of treatment for NTDs. It needs to continue increasing its treatment coverage if it is to beat neglected tropical diseases.
Eliminating neglected tropical diseases across the Commonwealth
From Africa to Asia to the Pacific, Commonwealth countries are now eliminating neglected tropical diseases and improving the lives of their citizens.
Commonwealth women leading the fight against NTDs
Watch the video to learn how Zanzibar (part of Tanzania) is training women to be community drug distributors and play a vital role in the fight against neglected tropical diseases.
Learn more on Global Citizen about this case study from Tanzania
A call to action to beat neglected tropical diseases
The World Health Organization, in its 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13), set a target of eliminating at least one NTD in 30 additional countries by 2023. This presents Commonwealth countries with an opportunity to take the lead on this goal and deliver for the poorest members of society, in support of the broader SDGs and universal health coverage.
The medicines that are required to achieve the elimination goals have been generously donated by pharmaceutical partners, as part of the London Declaration on NTDs.
To achieve elimination of NTDs, we encourage Commonwealth leaders to:
- use their voice on the global stage to speak up for their fellow citizens who are affected by these debilitating diseases. Become a champion for the poor
- make ending NTDs a priority for their country, by ensuring that there are specific, achievable and measurable targets within development plans, in support of SDG 3.3 on health and 3.8 on universal health coverage
- allocate the domestic resources needed to reach those that are left behind by current investments
- regularly monitor and report on progress on NTDs
- recognise and celebrate countries as they achieve elimination goals and deliver for the poorest
- “Be the Generation”, to quote Nelson Mandela, to end NTDs
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