USING AFCON TO #BEATNTDS – The truth you must know.

NTDs are diseases associated with extremely poor people in the tropics where there is lack of healthcare and associated with significant morbidity. These diseases affect different parts of the body and leading to death in some instances.

These disease were twenty in number until the recent addition of noma (bringing the number to twenty-one). Through the mass drug administration (MDA) and Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial Cleaniness and Environmental Improvement (SAFE) strategies, there have been some global progress to address NTDs For instance, Benin Republic eradicated trachoma in 2023 after eradicating trypanosomiasis in 2021.

With almost 1 billion global cases, It is worthy of note that Africa has almost half of the burden of NTDs and several maps of these diseases will show the concentration of cases. In fact, the name noma belt, lend credence to this. This necessitates that Africa play a leading role in addressing this burden in order to #BeatNTDs.

Going through the WHO NTD 2021-2023 Roadmap, (details of noma yet be to included) the profile of all countries tells a lot of stories. On the average, each country participating in AFCON will likely have about 10 NTDs. In fact, Nigeria, Cameroon and the host country are likely to have 16 NTDs each.

Thus, seeing the need to increase awareness of NTDs, the forthcoming AFCON offers a golden opportunity to massively increase awareness of NTDs and bring the message before teeming number of people who would watch physically and via television. This can be done by pushing the relevant hashtags (#BeatNTDs, #Zeronoma…) on pitch panels, flags in stadia, and digital screens. Well established sporting bodies can push same on publicity materials produced during the fiesta.

With this, it can stimulate attention of individuals and countries to push towards the relevant targets such as the 90% reporting of all relevant endemic NTDs and collection of data.

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