Collaboration was a major theme at the recent Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases: Translating the London Declaration into Action conference held in Washington D.C. While the focus was primarily on the seven most common NTDs, numerous cross-cutting issues were identified. Participants stressed emphasis on the potential for synergy and mutual inspiration among disease advocates.
A side meeting showcased both Leprosy specialists and NTD advocates. Presenters urged the audience to explore common elements and approaches in research and advocacy for both disease groups.
Besides disease prevention, it was noted that the following areas also offer potential for collaborative efforts in dealing with Leprosy and Neglected Tropical Diseases:
- community awareness
- patient education and self-care
- information systems
- community participation
- stigma related issues
Mr René Stäheli of ILEP said: “We can really contribute with our expertise in morbidity and disability management, and in stigma, to name just two areas. But we can also profit from the experience that other disease communities bring in.”