Rwanda: Over U.S.$1.9 Billion Raised Towards the Kigali Declaration Against NTDs

A health worker providing free medical services to members of displaced populations (file photo).

Over 1.9 billion USD have been raised so far, for the newly launched Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

The declaration is a high-level, political declaration which aims to mobilise political will and secure commitments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3) target to end NTDs in 2030, and to deliver the targets set out in the World Health Organization's Neglected Tropical Disease Roadmap (2021-2030).

On Thursday, June 23, the declaration was officially launched in Kigali at the Summit on Malaria and NTDs, an event that was graced by world leaders including President Paul Kagame, Prince Charles, President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, Isdor Mpango, the Vice-President of Tanzania, among others.

The high-level summit served as a landmark moment to renew commitments and call for more significant investments to end malaria and NTDs.

During the event, a number of institutions announced key commitments towards financing the fight against malaria and NTDs, bringing the total funds that have been raised so far, towards the Kigali declaration to USD 1.9 billion.

In addition to this, medicines worth USD 18 billion have also been donated by pharmaceutical companies towards the treatment of NTDs.

Speaking about the launch of the Kigali Declaration on NTDs, Dr. Daniel Ngamije, the Minister of Health said it is a major milestone on the road towards ending NTDs.

"The declaration has already galvanized unprecedented political and financial commitment from countries and partners to deliver the WHO 2030 targets on NTDs," he said.

NTDs are viral, parasitic and bacterial diseases that mainly affect the world's poorest people.

Common types of NTDs include Hookworm Infection, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Leprosy, Lymphatic Filariasis also known as elephantiasis, Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis, Trachoma, among others.

Among some of the institutions and individuals that made pledges towards the cause of fighting malaria and NTDs on the day are Dentsu, a UK-headquartered multinational media and digital marketing communications that contributed USD 5 million to support the fight against malaria, while Novartis, a Swiss -American multinational pharmaceutical corporation contributed USD 250 million to be used over the next five years to research and develop new treatments for NTDs and anti-malarial drugs.

In a keynote address that President Kagame delivered at the event, he pointed out the need for more support towards ending the malaria pandemic by 2030.

"This week, the commonwealth will commit to working towards ending the malaria pandemic by 2030. We will need your support to make this happen. One key action item is to support the global fund 7th replenishing," he said.

"Today, we are also endorsing the Kigali declaration on neglected tropical diseases, alongside the WHO's neglected tropical diseases roadmap 2030, we have a clear action plan," he added.

Prince Charles, in his speech, said he "very much" welcomes the Kigali Declaration on NTDs.

He added that he hopes that the summit signals the necessary focus and prioritization of funding for novel therapeutic, prophylactic, and vaccine strategies against malaria.

He also said there is "wider hope" in the fight against malaria, as he pointed out some of the strides that have been made.

"We now have more valuable assets at our disposal than ever before, for example the first WHO-approved vaccine, new nets and modern communications tools to monitor our progress," he said.

Around the world, it is estimated that 1.7 billion people suffer from NTDs.

According to WHO's World malaria report, there were an estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627 000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2020.

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