Over 200 representatives of the Non-Governmental Development Organisations Network on Neglected Tropical Diseases working to prevent, treat and manage consequences of diseases that affect the poorest of the poor met in Abu Dhabi to show their support for the inclusion of Neglected Tropical Diseases in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) global development targets from 2015-2030 due to be signed by the UN later this month.
More than 1.4 billion of the world’s poorest suffer Neglected Tropical Diseases, including 500 million children.
The Neglected Tropical Diseases such as leprosy, lymphatic filariasis and trachoma, compound poverty by causing blindness, disfigurement and disability by preventing men and women from going to work and children from attending school.
Head of Programmes, Sian Arulanantham, who signed the declaration on behalf of The Leprosy Mission England and Wales said: “Neglected tropical diseases were not included in the Millennium Development Goals meaning the poorest of the poor were often left out of development programmes, remaining in poor health and abject poverty.
“The Abu Dhabi Declaration is a statement of solidarity, highlighting that if the new Sustainable Development Goals are to be truly inclusive and leave no-one behind, they must include the prevention and treatment of Neglected Tropical Diseases , and intervention to support people affected by them.
“What gets measured gets done! SGDs Goal 3 on Health must include an indicator for Neglected Tropical Diseases to ensure development interventions don’t just reach the easy to reach, those just below the poverty line, but reach the most marginalised.
“Targets related to Water and Sanitation and Universal Health Coverage also need to ensure Neglected Tropical Diseases are included if we have any real hope in improving global health and quality of life of 1.4 billion of the world’s poor.”