Jan 06, 2015
By: Karen Palacio, Program Director
My parents immigrated to the United States in their early 20’s from Colombia and raised my sisters with strong cultural traditions, especially around the holidays. My most nostalgic holiday memory is that of New Year’s Eve and the traditional (and perhaps superstitious) undertakings at midnight to welcome the New Year. In addition to grabbing your suitcase and running it around the perimeter of your home to bring you abundant travel in the New Year, we select 12 grapes and make wishes for a prosperous year as we eat each grape.
As I considered my wishes for 2015, I reflected on the NTD community’s 2014 progress and how far the NTD response has come in terms of the enhanced partnerships, collaborative spirit and increased leadership in order to meet the goals of the World Health Organization’s Roadmap on NTDs and World Health Assembly resolutions on NTDs.
So in true Colombian fashion, below are my 12 wishes influenced by a recent series of NTD meetings I attended in Ethiopia. I hope you will join me in transforming these wishes into action as we work together to improve the health and quality of life of those suffering from the burden of NTDs.
Happy New Year!
1 Enhanced partnerships between the private sector, endemic-country governments and NGOs to help meet major NTD milestones.
2 Increased collaboration and concerted action between water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and NTD programs in order to reap the benefits of integration.
3 An ongoing focus on morbidity management in order to better address the needs of people living with disabilities due to NTDs.
4 Increased funding from both public and private donors and organizations for NTD programs.
5 Focus and perseverance as we continue to work toward lymphatic filariasis and river blindness elimination,building on the progress made over the last 15 years.
6 The scale up of deworming with support from the STH Coalition, made up of over 30 partners, working to improve the health of children through new partnerships and resource mobilization for intestinal worm control.
7 NTD surveillance to be included in health systems in order to sustain elimination efforts as well as to support the screening and treatment of NTDs.
8 Solutions to logistical and supply chain issues that often delay the timely delivery of donated drugs for NTDs.
9 New success stories to promote and encourage increased efforts to address NTDs.
10 Success for the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance in accelerating global efforts to control and eliminate schistosomiasis by utilizing the unprecedented availability of praziquantel donated by Merck.
11 Additional endemic country ownership by leveraging commitments and resources to build the human capacity needed to scale up NTD programs.
12 Increased technical knowledge and operational research for new strategies and tools for NTD implementation and elimination.