A signal for more cooperation: 50 days before the Kigali Summit against malaria and neglected tropical diseases

++ Joint event of Friends of the Global Fund Europe and the DNTDs

Berlin, 04.05.2021 - In the run-up to the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs and on the occasion of World Malaria Day, Friends of the Global Fund Europe together with the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases organised a joint discussion event.

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, former Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Vice-President of Friends of the Global Fund Europe welcomed the opportunity of the Kigali Summit in June to discuss integrated solutions to combat infectious diseases. Financial commitment and political will are needed to fight these diseases. But at the beginning of everything is attention. That is why an event like this is important.

Olivia Ngou, Impact Santé Afrique and network CS4ME (Civil Society for Malaria Elimination), described the work of community health services in the fight against malaria and NTDs. The scope of work was becoming more and more ambitious, from diagnosis to treatment. Unfortunately, the staff are often not t integrated into the state structures of the public health services.

For Prof. Dr. Achim Hörauf, spokesperson of the DNTDs, Director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at the University Hospital of Bonn, new programmes of digitalisation offer the possibility to tackle NTDs and malaria control faster and more effectively together. Also, the just-released UN Aids 5-year plan (2021-2026) points to the links between HIV and female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) and proposes treatment in integrated health services.

Dianne Stewart, Donor Relations Department, GFATM supported the thesis that in the future the integrated, one-health approach would lead the way. The Global Fund is on the way to achieving this.

Birgit Pickel, Head of Division at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, underlined the importance of integrating the One Health approach in the Global Fund against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria and how closely it is linked to the fight against neglected tropical diseases. In the future, intersectoral approaches must be taken into account, and her ministry is increasingly involved in the area of WASH. But also, the cooperation of human and veterinary medicine, with the finance ministers and the representatives of civil society are groundbreaking pioneering.

Dr Claude Oeuvray, Program Lead: Malaria Integrated Health Solution at Merck Group took a look at the use of different drugs that can be used in the fight against neglected tropical diseases and malaria. With ivermectin, an insect bite becomes a lethal risk for the malaria mosquito. At the same time, the drug is used in the treatment of neglected tropical diseases such as river blindness and elephantiasis (lymphatic filariasis).

Dr. Aimable Mbituyumuremyi, Rwanda Biomedical Center, Ministry of Health described that in his country, control strategies are coordinated in the national plans. This leads to savings in financial resources for vector control and in the deployment of personnel.

A short survey showed that a small majority of participants think that Momentum Covid offers an opportunity to improve health systems in middle- and low-income countries. A vote that was echoed by the speakers.

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