Launch of the END in Africa project

Remarks for the Chargé

WHO defines NTDs as diseases affecting almost exclusively poor and powerless people living in rural and disadvantaged urban areas in low-income countries. They are often
called “diseases of poverty”. They are called neglected because of lack of interest they generate in international forums on the one hand and limited resources devoted to them by affected countries on the other.

Not only NTDs are a serious public health problem, they weigh as a heavy weight in the communities and are an obstacle to the implementation of local development projects. The handicap represented by acute or chronic lesions of NTDs are the bed of increasing impoverishment already made difficult by unbearable living conditions.

It is estimated that, worldwide, more than one billion people are affected by one or more neglected diseases, and Cote d’Ivoire is not excluded from this multifaceted scourge that strikes people in the poorest regions and the marginalized. In fact, virtually all the population in Cote d’Ivoire are living in conditions that fuel the perpetuation of these diseases. Indeed
Many people are affected by several neglected diseases. This good position represents an obstacle to socio-economic development and an additional barrier to overcome to get out of poverty.

Among the MTN affecting more than a billion people worldwide, include Trachoma, Lymphatic Filariasis (elephantiasis), Onchocerciasis (river blindness), Schistosomiasis, the STH, Leprosy, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis, Guinea Worm, Loa loa, Ulcere Buruli. The fight against these diseases is now recognized as a factor contributing directly to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The choice of preventive chemotherapy MTN is based on a combination of several factors: a match of the endemic areas in several of them, a similar preventive therapeutic approach that uses the same drugs to treat several diseases at once, a drug distribution strategy to increase geographic and therapeutic coverage.

These five diseases are found all over the country are at high endemic levels that weigh heavily on the overall public health agenda. However, there are now medications and strategies to fight these diseases through national programs.

Cote d’Ivoire has adopted an integrated strategy in the fight against these five diseases based on integrated interventions and the administration of a combination of drugs which covers several of these diseases at a same time. The lack of resources required for other health care and the need to strengthen infrastructure have hampered efforts to implement NTD control programs in Côte d’Ivoire. The contribution of partners is therefore of high importance if we are to make progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Targeted mass drug administration can control seven of the most prevalent NTDs which are Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis, Trachoma, Lymphatic Filariasis, Soil transitted helminthiasis (whipworm, hookworm, roundworm). When treatment is provided to at-risk populations annually over successive years (5-7), these diseases may be eliminated or reduced to an extent that they no longer pose a public health threat.

In an effort to fight these diseases, the US Agency of International Development’s (USAID) NTD Program set a goal of reducing the prevalence of seven NTDs by at least half among 70% of the world’s affected populations. In September 2010, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded FHI 360 two five-year Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Cooperative Agreements spanning both Africa and Asia and marking the beginning of track two of USAID’s NTD control program. Subsequently, END in Africa received a 3-year extension, running through September 2018.

In Cote d’Ivoire, USAID provides for fiscal year 2016 financial support of $ 2,085,000 to FHI360 to support MSLS in the fight against NTDs. This level of funding includes a Fixed Obligation Grant (Fixed Obligated Grants – FOG) established between USAID and MSLS on an amount of $ 1,454,713. This grant will cover the implementation of activities performed by the National Control Programs against schistosomiasis, filariasis and lymphatic Geo-helminths (PNLSFG) and the National Programme against eye diseases and fight against onchocerciasis (PNSOLO). These activities aim to target more than 90% of population at risk for NTDs by drugs during mass drug distribution campaigns according to WHO criteria.