Neglected tropical diseases and disabilities in the concept of universal health coverage (UHC)
Workshop at the World Health Summit 2019
Berlin – October 10, 2019. At the World Health Summit (WHS), the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases organized a workshop. The focus was on integrating the fight against neglected tropical diseases into the concept of universal health coverage (UHC). “Numerous endemic countries have now recognized the need to combat neglected tropical diseases and have drawn up national plans. It is now important to implement all activities under the aspect of universal health coverage in cooperation with the World Organization (WHO) in the respective countries,” emphasized Mwelecele Ntuli Malecela, program director for neglected tropical diseases at the WHO. This aspiration, integration into national health systems, will be increasingly reflected in the new WHO roadmap to combat NTDs, which will be adopted by the WHO next year, Malecela said.
Yao Sodahlon, director of the Mectizan Donation Program, emphasized the private sector's commitment to the fight against NTDs. "Great efforts are being made to ensure that the medication reaches the sick people. If one speaks of the" last mile "that needs to be taken to reach the people, this is only partially true. These people even live beyond the last mile," said Sodahlon.
Louise Kelly-Hope, Head of Monitoring and Evaluation Operational Research of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine said that new digital solutions to monitor neglected tropical diseases can also strengthen health systems in endemic countries.
Sahayarani Antony, Head of Social Affairs at DAHW and Kirsty Thompson, Strategic Advisor on Disability Inclusion from CBM Australia, described how people with disabilities caused by NTDs can connect with activists who stand up for their rights. Disabilities caused by NTDs often are not innate but arise in the course of life caused or exacerbated by the poor living conditions of people, e.g. due to a lack of health systems, nutrition, limited access to clean water and poor hygiene. In order to be able to help the people affected, the fight against NTDs should be seen as a cross-cutting issue.