Join the fight against neglected tropical diseases

Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
28 January 2022
To mark World NTD Day, Sightsavers is celebrating the hard-earned progress that has been made in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and is calling on the global community to continue to work together to eliminate them.

NTDs are a group of 20 conditions that affect more than a billion people around the world, mainly in rural regions, poor urban areas, and conflict zones. The diseases have devastating health, social and economic consequences, yet they are preventable and treatable.

Virgin Unite is a proud supporter of Sightsavers’ Accelerate programme, which is focussed on eliminating trachoma, the world’s number one infectious cause of blindness.

Sightsavers has now launched a new social wall campaign to raise awareness and support to tackle the issue.


Over the last three years Accelerate has distributed 26 million treatments, managed more than 50,000 cases of trachoma, and supported 14 countries on their way to elimination. 2021 also saw the programme deliver 7.4 million treatments for river blindness, lymphatic filariasis and schistosomiasis across 40 Nigerian districts. It also reached more than 240 teachers in 120 Kenyan schools with training and materials about how to prevent and treat trachoma.

Through Accelerate and through many other NTD-focussed programmes (including The End Fund, an organisation Virgin Unite also very proudly supports), significant progress has been made toward global NTD elimination over the years, but recent cuts to aid funding have put all elimination targets at risk.

Play your part to fight NTDs

As we approach 30 January, the third-ever World NTD Day (and the first to be officially recognised by the World Health Organisation), the global health community is working to mobilise resources, sustain momentum, and demonstrate that it is within our power to put an end to NTDs.

30 January will also see the launch of the Kigali Declaration – a new, game-changing declaration calling on national governments, philanthropists, and other partners to show they are fully committed to controlling and eliminating NTDs.

According to Uniting for Combat: “By tackling NTDs we will reduce poverty, address inequity, strengthen health systems, increase human capital, and build resilient communities, bringing us closer to achieving universal health coverage and the SDGs (sustainable development goals). This declaration is for and in service of the 1.7 billion people who continue to suffer from NTDs."

NTD elimination cannot be achieved by one partner or one government alone, a truth clearly highlighted by Sightsavers’ social wall. We encourage you to visit the wall and contribute (just like Richard Branson and Virgin Unite have). It will take a global village to eliminate NTDs and all of us have an important part to play.