The World Health Organization (WHO) is to convene a Regional Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Brazzaville, Congo, 20-22 March, according to a statement issued Thursday by the WHO Regional Office for Africa.
The statement, made available to PANA here, said over 70 participants are expected to attend the meeting, which will focus on ways of strengthening regional efforts and harmonising the use of resources to accelerate the elimination and eradication of targeted NTDs in the African Region.
It said participants would also discuss and review the current status of NTDs, the regional NTD milestones, issues of coordination, and options for leveraging existing and new resources to fund integrated country NTD programmes.
The participants will be drawn from endemic countries, donor agencies, pharmaceutical firms, technical experts, policy makers, senior officials of WHO as well as national and international NGOs.
The Brazzaville meeting follows the June 2012 Accra Regional Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting on NTDs which, among other things, identified and discussed the priorities and commitments of all partners required for the urgent scaling up of activities towards control and elimination of NTDs which, globally, mainly affect one billion people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder.
The African Region is believed to carry more than 50% of the global NTD burden, with the proportion continually rising.
The NTD targeted for eradication is Guinea worm disease.
Others targeted for control or elimination in the African Region include leprosy, bilharzia, elephantiasis, sleeping sickness, river blindness, trachoma, Buruli Ulcer, soil transmitted helminth infections such as hookworm, roundworm and whipworm, and Leishmaniasis, also known as 'black fever'.