The Belgian Foreign Affairs Committee was delighted on Wednesday, June 26th to receive Dr. Neeraj Mistry, Managing Director of the Global Network. Neeraj was invited by the Committee to present on the global impact of NTDs and the solutions now available to control or eliminate the seven most common NTDs by the end of the decade. The presentation marked Neeraj’s second visit with the Belgian committee, after he and President Kufuor had lunch with the Foreign Affairs Committee members in March during the Global Network’s winter advocacy trip to Belgium and France.
Belgium has already had an important impact on the fight against NTDs. From 1974 through today, Belgium has consistently contributed to the Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP) and its successor, the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC). The OCP and APOC are credited with restoring 25 million hectares of land previously infested with the black flies that transmit onchocerciasis―enough land to feed 17 million people each year! Belgium is also carrying out a long-term sleeping sickness control program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, investing in public-private partnerships for NTD R&D, and has highlighted the importance of addressing NTDs in its official global health policy note.
The Global Network is delighted to see the Belgian Foreign Affairs Committee take interest in expanding Belgium’s commitments to NTDs, and hopes that we can continue to work together to see the end of these diseases by 2020.