World NTD Day: Africa says No to Neglected Tropical Diseases


Appolonia Adeyemi

On the second ever World NTD Day, spearheaded by policy and advocacy action tank Speak Up Africa, high-level stakeholders, private and civil society organisations, artists and the media united to say No to Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
First launched in 2020, World NTD Day, marked on January 30, was introduced to mark the global fight against NTDs, a group of diseases that affect more than 1.5 billion people globally. Approximately one third of those live in Africa.
To mark the occasion, the No to NTDs Civil Society Network coordinated iconic landmarks across Senegal, Niger, Guinea and Benin to shine orange and violet, the World NTD Day campaign colours, for the day to highlight the importance of all countries working together to fight NTDs. The Monument de la Renaissance in Senegal, the Place de la Concertation in Niger, the Monument du 22 Novembre in Guinea and the Etoile Rouge in Benin are among the many monuments worldwide that have light up.
“To end NTDs in Africa and globally, we must increase the awareness around these diseases. We are so proud to have been part of this movement and to have lit up the Monument du 22 Novembre in Guinea. Solidarity is key to eliminate this group of diseases, and people and our communities must know that every action against NTDs, resonates on the continent and globally,” highlighted Salomon Dopavogui, Executive Director of Jeunesse Secours and Vice President of the No to NTDs Civil Society Network.
Furthermore, private sector organisations showed their support for the cause, with pan-African banking group Ecobank stepping up to end NTDs by raising awareness amongst its employees and clients across Francophone Africa.
“As a private-sector organisation, we recognise how important it is to lend our voice to the fight against NTDs, which affect millions of Africans. NTDs are diseases of inequity that also negatively impact Africa’s development as a whole, and we hope that other organisations are able to join us and end the neglect,” commented Carl Manlan, Chief Operating Officer of the Ecobank Foundation.
In Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa, Yard and RBS Crew worked on a participative fresco to inspire and inform the general public and the youth on the fight against NTDs. Drawn at the foot of the Renaissance Monument, the painting of this fresco convened Rajah Dioury Sy, Director of Special Olympics Senegal; Amadou Gallo Fall, President of the Basketball African League; Carl Manlan from the Ecobank Foundation; and Sarah Diouf, fashion brand founder and creative director of Tongoro.
To further increase awareness, social media personalities Observateur Ebene and Fatou Guinea joined the celebrations and participated in the painting of the fresco while sharing the importance to act against NTDs with their millions of online followers.
“NTDs disproportionately impact women and girls in Africa and I am delighted to participate in the fight against these diseases. For Africa to thrive, we must collectively act to end NTDs,” affirmed Sarah Diouf, Founder of Tongoro, while painting the fresco on the court.
Civil society organisations (CSOs), as part of No to NTDs Civil Society Network, also marked World NTD Day through communication and advocacy campaigns. Activities across Francophone Africa included: Social mobilisation and awareness sessions held with schools and key stakeholders, including journalists and youth representatives in Senegal; Capacity-building meetings and conferences in Benin and Guinea; Interactive broadcasts and public conferences in Burkina Faso; and Conferences with key stakeholders, film screenings and TV debates in Niger.




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