″Commitment to reach the last mile″: Kigali Declaration marks new momentum to fight NTDS | Health | DW | 02.02.2022

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Health

"Commitment to reach the last mile": Kigali Declaration marks new momentum to fight NTDS

The 20 so called NTDs (Neglected Tropical Diseases) are affecting one out of five people globally. The recently adopted Kigali declaration is to provide momentum and commitment to reaching 90 percent of them over the next ten years with new drugs and better monitoring. While the COVID pandemic has interrupted some of the treatments, there's hope several NTDs will be almost eradicated by 2030.

Listen to audio 06:55

At the end of January 2022, 50 landmark buildings in 25 countries, in Tokyo and Kigali, in Berlin, New York City or Kinshsa, were lit up - to draw attention to the more than 1.7 billion people around the world suffering from neglected tropical diseases or NTDS. The day also marked the adoption of a new roadmap for the fight against these diseases, the so-called Kigali Declaration. It’s already been signed by a number of African countries, and many other nations are on board, including Germany.

They’re committed to reducing the number of people affected by diseases that cripple, kill and debilitate millions every year - mostly poor people in tropical countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Among the 20 NTDS are very different diseases, like for instance Dengue fever and river blindness that are transmitted by insects or Lymphatic Filariasis and helminth infections which are caused by tiny worms and infect over a billion people. Over the past decade, there's been a lot of progress in fighting these diseases, and new drugs have been developed that can control at least some of them - provided those infected get them regularly. But 20 percent of the global population is still at risk -  and much work remains to be done.

Prof Achim Hörauf has been involved in fighting NTDs for many years and also develops new drugs. He heads the Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology (IMMIP) at the University Hospital in Bonn.