The Nigerian economy will add approximately USD $19 billion in increased productivity if the country continues to stay on track to meet its 2030 elimination targets for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), according to a new study produced by Deloitte and commissioned by the END Fund.
A fundamental commitment of the United Nation’s Global Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to “leave no one behind.” To understand the benefits of taking a “leave no one behind” approach to NTDs, the END Fund commissioned Deloitte to prepare an economic impact study on the elimination of the five most common NTDs in Nigeria. The report’s main objective is to holistically present the key economic and social benefits of eliminating the five most prevalent NTDs in Nigeria by 2030, including long-term financial returns and a cost benefit assessment of elimination programs.
NTDs are a group of parasitic and bacterial diseases that affect predominantly economically disadvantaged groups. The diseases often cause severe symptoms that significantly hinder the ability of an individual to lead an independent life. The study focused primarily on the five most common NTDs in Nigeria, namely, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), schistosomiasis (snail fever), soil-transmitted helminths (STH, intestinal worms), and trachoma.
The study analysis shows that in Nigeria, the share of the population suffering from NTDs is negatively related to wealth — meaning that as countries develop their economies, they become better at handling NTDs through investment. Additionally, the elimination of NTDs is correlated with good educational outcomes. Studies suggest a bidirectional, causative relationship between the two, eliminating the diseases and advancing education.
The gains would also continue beyond 2030, as individuals who are cured or avoid infection live more productive and fulfilling lives. Additional economic benefits include avoided out-of-pocket expenses, freed-up productivity of caregivers, and gains due to increased school attendance. The executive summary and full versions of the report can be found here:
According to Oyetola Oduyemi, the END Fund’s Senior Director for Public Affairs, “The report is designed to galvanize a concerted effort by the public, private, and philanthropic sectors of the country and sub-region to elevate NTDs in public health systems, increase the domestic resource envelope for NTDs, and influence policymaking that will effectuate these objectives in working to achieve the indicated potential benefits of achieving the WHO NTD Roadmap 2030 on disease control and elimination.”
The report was launched on World NTD Day (30th of January 2023), a global health day recognized by WHO that is dedicated to commemorating the progress made against NTDs. The event was graced by the Honourable Minister of Health in Nigeria, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and Minister of State for Health, Hon. Ekumankama Joseph Nkama. The coordinators of the project have promised to keep the general public informed about further discussions on the report’s findings. People within and outside the public health space engaged with the report to share their thoughts with the project sponsors.
The END Fund
The END Fund is a private philanthropic initiative that exists to end the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The fund efficiently puts private capital to work, advocating for NTD programs that are innovative, integrated, and cost-effective. It facilitates strong partnerships with the private sector, government partners, and local implementing partners to collaboratively support national disease programs. This is done through a proven implementation model that is tailored to meet the needs of individual countries, with the view to fostering healthier communities, protected from the risks of NTDs. Since its founding in 2012, along with partners, the END Fund has distributed over 1 billion treatments across 31 countries, performed over 43,000 blindness and disability-preventing surgeries, and trained nearly 3.5 million health workers to pre-empt and treat NTDs. More at www.end.org.
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