World NTD Day: Unite, Act, Eliminate

Patients line up to receive treatment for trachoma. Overall, the Accelerate programme has supported nearly 700 trachoma surgeries in Benin, helping the country to eliminate this disease as a public health problem.
Sightsavers | David Gnaha
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
30 January 2024

30 January 2024 marks the fifth annual World NTD Day, a key moment to highlight the work that is being done to end neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

NTDs are a group of 21 parasitic and bacterial diseases 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.

The END Fund
The END Fund

Virgin Unite has supported organisations working towards eliminating NTDs for five years. Through The Audacious Project, Virgin Unite has funded programmes at The END Fund and Sightsavers that focus on global health and ending NTDs, including intestinal worms and trachoma .

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said: “As climate change intensifies, the growth of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) across new and existing geographies will worsen and threaten the progress being made toward eliminating these terrible diseases. I am incredibly proud that our foundation, Virgin Unite, has been supporting organisations committed to ending NTDs since 2019.”

The END Fund

The END Fund mobilises resources for NTDs, focusing on delivering treatments to those in need by working in collaboration with government, NGO, pharmaceutical and academic partners.

Thanks to the collective action of The END Fund community, 50 communities have eliminated at least one NTD. In 2023, it helped treat hundreds of millions of people for NTDs.

In a warming world, climate change threatens to reverse the progress that has been made on eliminating neglected tropical diseases. The END Fund is supporting the call to unite, act and eliminate, and is committed to identifying and scaling the solutions required to safeguard progress, protect communities and beat NTDs.

Visit The END Fund to learn more about its work.


NTDs are a major cause of preventable blindness around the world. Sightsavers works with thousands of local volunteers and has distributed more than a billion donated treatments to protect people against NTDs. The five diseases Sightsavers treats and prevents are: trachoma, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, intestinal worms and schistosomiasis.

Doctors prepare to perform sight-saving surgery on Safira.
Sightsavers | David Gnaha

It has helped to eliminate diseases in several countries, including The Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, Benin and Mali. Yet, despite the progress made so far more needs to be done.

Sightsavers has released a poem this year for World NTD Day to highlight the need to unite, act, eliminate.

Visit Sightsavers to learn more about its work.