250 health experts, leaders to unite for first World NTD Day in UAE

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NTDs are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions.

More than 250 global civil society advocates, community leaders, health experts and policymakers will unite today to kick off a decisive year in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) for the first annual World NTD Day, the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi has announced.

NTDs are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

These affect more than 1.5 billion of the world's most impoverished people and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year.

Despite their prevalence, NTDs have not always been at the top of public health priorities.

World NTD Day will broaden the conversation beyond the traditional global health community, engaging the general public in the effort to ensure people at risk for NTDs no longer remain "neglected".

Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, undersecretary of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, said: "The UAE has been committed to ending NTDs for over 30 years, starting with the UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Al Mazrouei stressed that the UAE's commitment to ending NTDs is not just about disease elimination.

"By removing the barrier of disease, we can help alleviate poverty and uplift entire generations," he said. This year, the WHO is expected to launch new NTD goals to guide progress until 2030.

In response, leaders will have the opportunity and responsibility to recommit to beating NTDs. - Wam

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