33 days to the start of the 2016 Grand to Grand Ultra…
Greetings from Arusha in Tanzania.
As I’m visiting Tanzania this week, it provides me with an opportunity to reflect on the NTD situation in the country, and the work done by the END Fund and others.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) present Tanzania with serious challenges regarding the health and well-being of its citizens. Tanzania is endemic for all five of the most common NTDs, namely schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and trachoma.
Tanzania has a population of approximately 55 million people, and most are at risk of co-infection with two or more NTDs. Due to the high disease prevalence and large backlog in trichiasis surgeries, Tanzania is considered one of the priority countries for trachoma elimination. Trachoma is endemic in 50 districts with a high prevalence of blinding trachoma and a large number of people requiring surgery for trichiasis in the rural Maasai communities in the North East. Lymphatic filariasis is endemic throughout the country with an estimated 45 million people at risk.
In response to this situation, in 2009 Tanzania adopted the WHO initiative to integrate the implementation of activities targeting NTDs. It established the Neglected Tropical Diseases Control Programme which is managed by the Ministry of Health Community Development Gender Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC). The programme aims to control or eliminate NTDs by 2020.
Various local and international roleplayers, including the END Fund, are supporting the government’s efforts in eliminating NTDs.
The END Fund implements three on-going programmes in Tanzania.
In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), it provides support for 250 hydrocele surgeries in two remote districts. The blinding trachoma programme, in partnership with the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO), aims to address the backlog of trichiasis surgeries by delivering 450 surgeries. It also focuses on using social mobilisation and pre-existing platforms to identify community members and increase the number of people receiving trichiasis support and management.
In partnership with Sightsavers, International Coalition on Trachoma Control, and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, the END Fund is also engaged in a three-year programme that focuses on increasing the capacity of trichiasis surgeons, training 160 case-finders in each target district, and providing more than 6 000 surgeries to reduce the surgical backlog.
In 2014, the END Fund launched the annual “Summit to See the END” initiative. It provides people an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for NTDs linked to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The resources raised enable the END Fund to support Tanzania’s NTD elimination strategy, increase public knowledge on NTDs and support trichiasis and hydrocele surgeries in Tanzania.
The countdown to the Grand to Grand Ultra continues…
I invite you to support my fundraising campaign and encourage others to do the same.
Together, we can END NTDs!