GAELF joins the world celebrating NTD Day

29 Jan 2021

World NTD Day is a time we focus on the diseases which have so often in the past been relegated to being tropical medical oddities in the health world, and generally ignored except for isolated unsung dedicated efforts. The 30th January is when the medical world recognises more and more of these forgotten diseases, and most importantly the significance of these afflictions to the global attempts to bring health equity to the medically underserved populations of the world.

Lymphatic filariasis (LF) has a special role in the emergence of NTDs being the second global programme to use preventative chemotherapy through the generous donation from GSK following the footsteps of the successful establishment of the global onchocerciasis programme by Merck & Co Inc and partners; a third drug donor EISAI joined later to establish a unique multi-drug donation system of mass drug administration across the world for a single disease.

A major contribution that LF has brought to the NTD world is the active inclusion of patient care as a formal requirement of eventual national programme success; this important inclusion has catalysed a greater understanding of the clinical and social effects seen in this and other NTD diseases. Learning from the experiences of sister diseases in NTD world with long histories of patient care, such as leprosy, those affiliated with LF and with similar clinical presentations are now receiving the much-needed care that had long been unavailable in most endemic countries.

NTD day is also a time to specifically recognize the incredible efforts and dedication of all the individuals in endemic countries - drug distributors, care givers, programme managers and staff and patients - who make this extraordinary global health effort so successful. GAELF thanks all of you and joins with all our sister NTDs in solidarity towards universal healthcare for all.