We are at a significant moment in history. We could solve one of the world’s most pressing but often ignored health issues.
Imagine if the world, working together, could end the devastation of 20 diseases and conditions that affect over 1.7 billion people—illnesses that most often impact those living in extreme poverty.
This group of diseases and conditions is called neglected tropical diseases. Their hold on people, communities, and countries can be catastrophic: these diseases disable, disfigure, and sometimes kill.
We’re at a turning point. Over the last decade, we have made astounding progress toward ending the impact of neglected tropical diseases:
- 43 countries have eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease
- 600 million people no longer require treatment for neglected tropical diseases
- Sleeping sickness and Guinea worm disease are at an all-time low (these diseases have created suffering for centuries)
The WHO (World Health Organization) roadmap for 2021-2030 calls for essential changes to ensure that neglected tropical disease programs and initiatives led by affected countries have long-term and sustainable impacts.
For the first time, ending neglected tropical diseases seems possible. It will take collective action from organizations like Effect Hope, governments at all levels, pharmaceutical companies, multilateral organizations, academic and research institutions, donors, and young leaders around the world.
That’s where the Kigali Declaration on neglected tropical diseases comes in.
The Kigali Declaration makes a bold call for the world to come together to end neglected tropical diseases. This declaration highlights the country-ownership of neglected tropical disease programs, integration into the health sector, and cross-sectoral collaboration to address some underlying reasons for these poverty-related diseases. In this declaration, individuals and communities are at the centre.
The global community will be celebrating the endorsements of all countries in a pre-summit meeting ahead of the Commonwealth heads of state meeting hosted by the Government of Rwanda on June 23, 2022.
So why is Effect Hope committing to the Kigali Declaration?
Effect Hope is one of Canada’s oldest global health organizations. We are one of Canada’s only organizations that is 100% committed to supporting people affected by neglected tropical diseases like leprosy. For 130 years, we have been working with people affected by neglected tropical diseases.
Like many of you, we believe in global health equity. We cannot achieve global health equity if the 1.7 billion people (that’s 1 in 5 of us) affected by neglected tropical diseases continue to experience debilitating illnesses that are preventable and treatable.
We are fully invested in seeing an end to neglected tropical diseases. We want to live in a world where people overcome neglected tropical diseases.
We believe that committing to the Kigali Declaration reflects the values and interests of all Canadians.
That’s why we signed the London Declaration in 2012 and why we will sign the Kigali Declaration.
But our commitment doesn’t end with a signature. We will ensure that our programs align with the goals stated in the Kigali Declaration and the WHO’s (World Health Organization) new Neglected Tropical Diseases Roadmap.
We know that ending neglected tropical diseases is possible. Now is the time to do it.