First-ever World NTD Day

Burnet Institute

30 January, 2020

The international medical research community has used the inaugural World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Day to call for a focus on elimination of NTDs, eight years on from the landmark London declaration on NTDs.

Despite the declaration making a commitment to elimination of NTDs by 2020, more than 1.6 billion people remain affected by these treatable and preventable diseases.

Burnet Group Leader, Vector-Borne Diseases and Tropical Public Health, Associate Professor Leanne Robinson said holding an international day provided an opportunity to put a spotlight on these diseases, which many people have never heard of.

“World NTD Day is a much-needed opportunity to raise awareness and advocate for more action against NTDs,” Associate Professor Robinson said.

Associate Professor Robinson said NTDs are both a consequence and a cause of poverty, affecting the world’s poorest and most marginalised people who often live with inadequate sanitation.

She said the disability and disfigurement caused by NTDs deepens and perpetuates poverty by reducing the ability of those affected to earn a living or receive education.

“One in five people on the planet suffer from NTDs, from the severe disfigurement associated with lymphatic filariasis, the chronic undernutrition and developmental impact of soil-transmitted helminths to blindness caused by trachoma and onchocerciasis,” she said.

Despite this, Associate Professor Robinson said progress towards elimination had been made in 31 countries which have eliminated at least one NTD since 2012. She said it was crucial that the coordinated effort in these regions was scaled up across the globe.

Ahead of new World Health Organization guidelines setting out a roadmap for NTD elimination over the next decade, Associate Professor Robinson said Burnet’s Vector Borne Disease and Tropical Public Health Group would focus on working to find more efficient mass drug administration (MDA) regimes and strengthening the implementation of MDA for lymphatic filariasis in endemic countries.

“By working together, implementing known solutions and investing to find additional innovative solutions, we have an opportunity to positively impact on affected communities and ultimately create a world where the 1 in 5 people that are currently at risk can lead healthy, impactful lives,” Associate Professor Robinson said.

30 January is World NTD Day. See a full list of NTDs here.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Leanne Robinson

Program Director, Health Security and Pandemic Preparedness; Senior Principal Research Fellow, Group Leader, Vector-Borne Diseases and Tropical Public Health


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