Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases enables nation to save US$3.8 billion

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Ethiopia could save nearly US$3.8 billion and avert the equivalent of more than 6.6 million years of life by eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), while in same token sub-Saharan Africa could save 52 billion USD between 2011-2030.

The new data, developed by Erasmus University with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was released at an event hosted by the END Fund, an international philanthropic initiative to end NTDs, alongside the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda.

Ethiopia is affected by all five of the most common NTDs, which include lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), schistosomiasis (bilharzia), soil transmitted helminths (intestinal worms), and trachoma. The country has one of the highest burdens of NTDs in sub-Saharan Africa. according to END Fund Press Release.

To this end, much work need to be carried out to prevent and treat NTDs in Ethiopia and protect people from these debilitating diseases.

At continental level, sub-Saharan Africa bears over 40% of the global burden of NTDs, with massive impact on both health and economic development of the region, including increase absenteeism in schools and dramatically reduce labor productivity, ultimately perpetuating cycles of poverty.

As to the Press release countries across sub-Saharan Africa have made tremendous progress toward ending NTDs in recent years through using low-cost, easy-to-administer interventions, while donors, development partners and national governments have made unprecedented commitments to these diseases, including through the landmark London Declaration on NTDs and the Addis Ababa NTD Commitment, signed by 24 African Health Ministers in December 2014 declaring increased leadership and budgetary contributions.

Despite this progress, the information source concedes that funding gap remains to distribute medicines to the millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa who still lack access, and states that additional resources are urgently needed from all sectors to reach the WHO’s 2020 targets for NTDs and reap the resulting health, education and economic benefits.

Written by Robel Yohannes. This story was sourced from The Ethiopian Herald website.

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