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Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed reaffirms UAE’s commitment to fight neglected tropical diseases

 Sun 30 Jan 2022

“We stand on the brink of a historic opportunity to eradicate NTDs and create a healthier future for all,” the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince said.
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Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has reaffirmed the UAE’s commitment to continue fighting neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in poor countries.

His statement came as nations marked the World NTD Day on January 30, and celebrated achievements that prove ending NTDs is possible.

“On World NTD Day, we renew our commitment to working with our international partners to combat neglected tropical diseases,” Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter.

“Through sustained cooperation & targeted investment, we stand on the brink of a historic opportunity to eradicate NTDs & create a healthier future for all.”

Thirty years ago, UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, embarked on a mission to improve health around the globe.

“On the third annual World NTD Day, we join in solidarity with partners worldwide to continue this legacy and confirm that we are 100 percent committed to ending NTDs and improving lives everywhere,” said UAE authorities.

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Neglected Tropical Diseases affect one out of every five people around the world, trapping families and communities in cycles of extreme poverty.

But these diseases are preventable and treatable. Thanks to global cooperation, over 1 billion people are being reached with treatment each year, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

Thirty-four countries have now eliminated at least one NTD. Niger is poised to be the first country in Africa to eliminate river blindness, a feat once considered impossible.

After more than 40 years of work to control or eliminate river blindness in West Africa, the achievement in Niger provides a proof of concept that elimination is possible, not just in West Africa but across the entire continent.

Niger had completed the necessary evaluations in line with guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to certify the elimination of onchocerciasis (commonly known as river blindness), unlocking billions for the country’s economy over the last several decades.

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There is an urgent need to end NTDs because they affect more than 1.7 billion people, often those living in under-resourced areas, in remote communities, and without basic services, such as access to clean water and sanitation.

The Reach Campaign, UAE’s awareness and fundraising initiative which aims to end NTDs, last year partnered with several companies and big brands as part of its ‘50 Days to Transform 5 Million Lives’ campaign.

The campaign, which coincided with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, ran for 50 days until the nation’s 50th anniversary on December 2.

The initiative aimed at carrying on the legacy left by Sheikh Zayed to eliminate NTDs, river blindness and lymphatic filariasis.

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