Celebrating progress towards a world without NTDs

Posted on: Thursday, 2nd February, 2017
Child receiving medication to treat trachoma at a community distribution in Ethiopia

This week, CBM is joining with partners to celebrate the huge progress made in tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) such as River Blindness and Trachoma. In 2015, a billion people worldwide received treatment for NTDs, a 20% increase in just 2 years.

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of preventable and treatable diseases that affect millions of people, with the greatest burden falling on those living in the world’s poorest communities. Diseases such as River Blindness (onchocerciasis), Trachoma and Lymphatic Filariasis may not be household names, but they are a major cause of blindness and other types of disability.

“NTDs are a major cause of disability throughout the world”, explains Dr Babar Qureshi, CBM’s global Director of Neglected Tropical Diseases. “CBM is committed to eliminating NTDs but also to improving the lives of people living with their disabling effects”.

Vincent and his children, who are protected from River Blindness thanks to medicine distributed by CBM.CBM is working to tackle NTDs in 17 countries, distributing medication, providing treatment and helping communities at risk to protect themselves, for example through education.  Our programmes also support people living with the long-term effects of NTDs, such as blindness, physical impairment and mental health problems. 

Five years ago, leaders from diverse sectors came together and committed to bring an end to these diseases. The declaration this group signed, known as the London Declaration, is a leading example of how partnerships can create historic progress, and was endorsed by CBM. 

Today, we are closer than ever to a world without NTDs. But Dr Qureshi highlights that the last steps to eliminating NTDs may be the hardest:

"The commitment to the last mile is key to ensuring that we reach the people ‘at the end of the road’ – those in the remotest areas, in conflict zones or those with disabilities – in order to reach our elimination goals." 

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Main image - community distribution of medication to protect communities from the eye infection Trachoma in Ethiopia.

Image (right)  - Vincent and his children are protected from River Blindness (onchocerciasis) thanks to the medication Mectizan, provided free by the pharmaceutical company and distributed by CBM in Democratic Republic of Congo.  


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