Kathmandu: President Bidya Devi Bhandari has said that efforts of all were necessary for the prevention and control of neglected tropical diseases.
Inaugurating a Global Conference on Neglected Tropical Diseases organized by Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) NGO Network (NNN) here Tuesday, she said that diseases such as dengue, which were once unheard of in Nepal, are now spreading nationwide and that such diseases should be prevented and controlled with efforts of every individual.
Drawing attention of concerned agencies towards the development and management of necessary infrastructure, technologically skilled human resource for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of such diseases, President Bhandari said that it was necessary to increase public awareness at the community level for the prevention of this type of disease.
She also expressed the belief that the conference would be successful in finding the necessary solutions to face the common challenges in this regard. Bhandari shared that Nepal has also been striving for a long time to eliminate diseases such as leprosy, rabies, kala-azar, elephantiasis, trachoma and others which are in the list of neglected tropical diseases of the World Health Organization.
“Behind the success of all these efforts is the appropriate public health policies, strategies, programs and integrated campaigns adopted by the Government of Nepal, as well as the proper mobilization of the necessary resources for their implementation, and the continuous cooperation from various countries and international organizations and donor agencies,” she said.
President Bhandari also said that by further empowering the local people’s representatives and health workers, the obstacles in the effort to provide services related to the neglected tropical diseases to all Nepalis can be removed.
On the occasion, Minister for Health and Population Bhawani Prasad Khapung said Nepal has made remarkable progress in the health sector adding that child mortality rate (CMR) has dropped to 38 in 2018, which was 61 per one thousand in 2005.
He added that 52,000 plus women health volunteers are providing health care services at the community level and stated that establishment of health centre and primary health care centres in the local level has benefited the people of each and every class. He, however, argued that health care services in the rural area should be further improved.
Likewise, Minister Khapung stated that 87 per cent of the total population in the country has received either full or partial anti-COVID-19 vaccines.
Also speaking at the event, Chairperson of Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network (NNN) Arielle Dolegui said that the conference is a global event bringing together communities collectively dedicated to research, implementation, policy and advocacy towards a common vision for a world free of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
Arielle said the conference has witnessed representation of government leaders, global partners, and implementing organisations to galvanize momentum and review commitment towards the delivery of the WHO 2030 neglected tropic disease road map.
Likewise, Country Director of the Leprosy Mission Nepal Shovakhar Kandel said hosting this event was significant for Nepal since this represents Nepal’s leadership, having been the first country in Southeast Asia to have eliminated trachoma as a public health problem.
The conference inaugurated today will run till September 15, where NTD practitioners, government representatives, public health physicians, researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders from 50 plus countries are deliberating on challenges and solutions for NTD elimination.
The conference could not held in-person for the past two consecutive years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nepal’s government officials and leaders from South Asia and West Africa are attending the high-level panel discussion on integrating NTDs into general health services to be held in the remaining two days of the conference.