CBM has been distributing preventive medicines for decades to protect people from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Medicines act like a strong protective shield if they are administered regularly.
CBM has reached the milestone of its 600 millionth treatment that offers protection against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
Dr Babar Qureshi, CBM Director of the Inclusive Eye Health Initiative, administered the treatment - ivermectin and albendazole - to a 10-year-old girl named Surayya from Jigawa State, Nigeria. Ivermectin protects her from blindness caused by onchocerciasis (oncho), also known as river blindness. Albendazole protects her from lymphatic filariasis LF (elephantiasis). Surayya is just one of 1.7 billion people in the world affected by NTDs.
"Today we protected one more person from NTDs to mark this important moment in CBM's fight against diseases that affect people’s lives so much. We will continue our work until everyone has the same protection," said Babar Qureshi on the occasion of the milestone.
Surayya has always lived with the risk of contracting Oncho or LF because the two diseases are endemic in Jigawa State. But it does not have to be that way: Because preventive medication can protect her and many other people. That is why CBM has been distributing tablets against these and other NTDs for decades. They act like a strong protective shield and keep people safe from these diseases when taken regularly.
Act Now to End NTDs
CBM calls on governments, businesses, academic institutions, research institutes and policymakers to take action to make a world without NTDs a reality.
In 2023, we shouldn’t have to suffer from NTDs, diseases that can be easily treated and prevented. We know what to do, how to do it and where to deliver services. We need governments, donors and implementing partners to stay the course and finish the job,” says Girija Sankar, Head of the NTDs programme at CBM.
In June last year, governments, pharmaceutical companies, and non-governmental organisations signed the Kigali Declaration to Combat NTDs. They pledged to provide $1.4 billion in funding and $18 billion in medicines. These pledges were made by the governments of Canada, Germany, Rwanda, UAE, the United Kingdom, and the USA, as well as donor organisations Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Children's Investment Fund Foundation, the END Fund, Sightsavers, and the Wellcome Trust.
CBM is committed to working with these partners to ensure that preventive medicines reach people in the most remote regions of the world.
What are NTDs?
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) include several parasitic, viral and bacterial diseases that cause significant illness in more than one billion people worldwide. These diseases affect the world's poorest people, impairing physical and cognitive development and making it difficult to earn a living. As a result, NTDs trap entire communities in a cycle of poverty and disease.
Global NTD programmes focus on identifying regions and countries where NTDs are present and work to control or, where possible, eliminate them and treat those already affected by the disease to stop the spread.
At CBM, we have worked in 42 countries to treat and prevent NTDs. Today our work in nine countries focuses on the five main NTDs - trachoma, onchocerciasis, soil-transmitted helminths (parasitic worms), schistosomiasis (bilharzia) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis).
The Work of Mass Drug Administration
CBM works with thousands of volunteers or Community Drug Distributors (CDDs) to distribute the medicines that protect people from NTDs. Mass drug administrations (MDAs) treat the entire infected population and protect those who are not infected from future infections.
Managing MDAs is often a challenge. Many regions are affected by instability and conflict, making it difficult to get medicines to places where they are needed most. Many rural communities are difficult to reach and some are scattered over large areas. Extreme weather conditions such as flooding also affect effective distribution.
By working with local partners and governments, we overcome these challenges. Recent MDAs include work in the East African country of South Sudan, insecure regions of Nigeria and the people on the banks of the Tshuapa River in the Democratic Republic of Congo.