The Global Network team was flying high on its return flight from Ethiopia last week after the Sixth Conference of African Union Ministers of Health (CAMH6) concluded with a strong call for African countries and development partners to increase support for NTD control and elimination programs. We expect this announcement will translate into increased support for NTD investments in Africa. The Global Network team worked tirelessly over the past months establishing a strong relationship with the AU and African Ministers of Health, encouraging them to prioritize the issue of NTDs. Once again, advocacy works!
The hard work didn’t stop at the conference’s opening remarks though – the Global Network co-hosted a breakfast with the African Union Commission (AUC) on the sidelines of CAMH6, where participants highlighted solutions to hookworm, snail fever, elephantitis, and other NTDs in Africa. The discussion, which was expertly moderated by AUC Director of Social Affairs Dr. Olawale Maiyegun, brought together over 160 representatives from health ministries and other partners to showcase the feasibility of eliminating NTDs as a public health threat in Africa by 2020.
The breakfast speakers included His Excellency Dr. Mustapha Kaloko, AUC Commissioner for Social Affairs; the Honorable Dr. Sabine Ntakarutimana, Minister of Health for the Republic of Burundi; Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo, regional director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa; and Ambassador Michael Marine, CEO of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.
A strong call by the AU in favor of country-led NTD programs in Africa is just the type of support needed if we are going to reach the 2020 NTD goals established by WHO in the London Declaration. We are thrilled by the positive outcomes that came out of Ethiopia last week, which confirm the commitment of African leaders to make real improvements to health and development in the region. The Global Network is looking forward to more positive results from Africa in the near future, especially at the annual AU Summit taking place later this month. Stay posted.