USAID and Partners Honor International NTD Champions and Congressional Advocates

On September 19th, USAID and more than 40 non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, global health and civil society groups, and pharmaceutical companies gathered in the Russell Senate Office Building to celebrate the numerous successful partnerships that have led to advances in NTD treatment and control.

Our own Dr. Neeraj Mistry helped to kick off the event “Celebrating an Untold Story of Success: Global Partnerships in the Fight against NTDs” by sharing the END7 Campaign’s “Mission in a Minute” video, which is part of the Global Network’s effort to raise public awareness about the seven most common NTDs.

We were delighted to see so many members of Congress attend and show their support.  Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) announced the exciting news that the Senate Malaria Working Group would add NTDs to their agenda. Guests also heard remarks from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a long-time global health advocate, who was an honorary host of the event, as well as Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Malaria and NTDs.

USAID’s Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah thanked all partners for their unwavering commitment to improving the health and wellness of the world’s most underserved populations and emphasized the incredible accomplishments achieved through public-private partnerships.

In a highlight of the event, Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health at USAID, honored and recognized four special guests for their leadership in controlling and eliminating NTDs:

  • Dr. Nana Biritwum, National NTD Coordinator, Ministry of Health, Ghana
  • Dr. Mwele Malecela, Director General of National Institute for Medical Research, Tanzania
  • Dr. Uche Amazigo, retired Director of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control
  • Dr. Adetokunbo “Ade” Lucas, Founding Director of WHO’s Special Program for Research, Training in Tropical Diseases

Dr. Lorenzo Savioli, Director, Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization, also reiterated the major themes of the night – the power of partnerships and the achievable goal of NTD elimination.

Stay tuned! Coming soon to End the Neglect will be another perspective on this celebratory event from Caroline Harper, CEO of Sightsavers, who served as a wonderful MC for the night.

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