Neglected Tropical Diseases
What are Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)?
Cyrille Thierry Evini: NTDs are a group of diseases, which are found mainly in developing countries, affecting 1.4 billion people. They are called neglected, because they have been mostly eliminated in developed countries but still affect people in developing countries.
What are the major issues in fighting NTDs?
Cyrille Thierry Evini: Governments in developing countries don’t necessarily view NTDs as being of major concern, given their other priorities, so government involvement is a critical issue. Then it is difficult to make sure that we have adequate funding, and can get communities to support and sustain the fight against NTDs.
What does LIGHT FOR THE WORLD do, in which regions and with what partners?
Cyrille Thierry Evini: LIGHT FOR THE WORLD now works in two countries on NTDs: in Ethiopia (Tigray and western Oromia) and in Mozambique (Cabo Delgado). We mainly collaborate with government partners in those three regions. We hope to work in South Sudan too, if the political and security situation there improves.
What has been achieved so far?
Cyrille Thierry Evini: We have successfully set up a fully fledged sustainable system in accordance with the SAFE strategy (Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness and Environment) promoted by the World Health Organisation, to continue the fight against NTDs. We have succeeded in making communities aware of the available services and involve national governments. And we have successfully been able to reach 7.7 million people throughout those three regions either by drug distribution or eyelid surgery.
What are the goals for the coming years?
Cyrille Thierry Evini: We are aiming to treat 11 million people in 2016, and to enable 12,000 people to be operated on in both Mozambique and Ethiopia. Additionally we are aiming to set up hygiene and sanitation programmes in all the regions where our trachoma programmes are currently being implemented.