GrowthAid joins Partners to Celebrate Wold Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day
On 31st May 2021, the World Health Assembly (WHA) recognized 30th January every year as World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Day through decision WHA74(18). This year’s NTD Day 2023 was celebrated under the theme “Act Now. Act Together. Invest In Neglected Tropical Diseases” The event brought together both local and global partners to mark the Celebration. The event was held at the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra. In attendance were representatives from Ghana Health Service (GHS), World Health Organization (WHO), USAID, World Vision International, GrowthAid, American Leprosy Missions, UKAID, Act to End NTDs, FHI360, Sightsavers, AIM Initiative, WaterAid, the Ambassador for NTDs in Ghana, Rev. Dr Joyce Rosalind Aryee among other stakeholders.
The Executive Director of GrowthAid, Dr. Joe Lambongang, in his address to participants indicated that Neglected Tropical Diseases have been neglected for so long not much because of the lack of cure, but because there was lack of action on the part of those who know, have the means, power, resources and responsibility to act.
He stated that whereas he appreciated the modest achievements that they have made as a country, led by the GHS through the NTD Programme, stakeholders have not worked together enough, perhaps some of them want to score political or other points, or have not invested enough when they could, or even the approach was not in line with what the experts recommend they do in order to win the fight against NTDs.
Dr. Lambongang stressed that this year’s celebration offered them the opportunity to reflect on their collective commitment as a country and partners in this space, and challenge themselves to do better by acting now, working together, and investing in NTDs as the theme suggests.
He told participants that both WASH poverty and NTDs were bed fellows and advocated for an integrated approached to funding for WASH and NTDs programmes. Working across sectors/ministries and departments will yield better results, he recommended. He noted that part of the challenge in combating NTDs was donor related as many funding agencies invest in their comfort zone without reference to the NTD Programme strategic plan. As such moving away from donor dependency and working out more sustainable models of funding, what he called ‘the Ghana Model’, is the surest way to eliminating NTDs. A policy advocacy to get parliament to levy every adult Ghanaian and corporate entity just One Ghana Cedi per quarter as our collective contribution towards fighting NTDs or expanding the scope of the COVID-19 Levy by giving it a broader name so that we can benefit from the proceeds, will go a long way to tackle NTD menace more effectively.
He concluded by calling on all partners to think outside the box and come up with innovative ways of funding. He challenged all partners to act together based on our already developed plans for the good of Mother Ghana if indeed we want to succeed.