Neglected Tropical Diseases NGO Network Skin NTD Cross-Cutting Group Online Meeting
3 June 2020
“Skin Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of diseases for which the primary presentations are changes in the skin (lumps or swelling, ulcers, swollen limbs and patches on the face or body). These diseases, if not diagnosed and treated early, can lead to long-term disfigurement, disability, stigmatisation and socioeconomic problems” – World Health Organization (WHO).
Nonetheless, Skin NTDs continue to have a low profile and status in public health priorities. To help address this, Neglected Tropical Diseases NGO Network (NNN) members established the Skin NTD Cross-Cutting Group to ensure that these neglected diseases receive adequate attention and financial support within the WHO NTD Roadmap 2021-2030.
The International Foundation for Dermatology (IFD) is a member of the NNNSCCG and also provides operational support to the Group. IFD Chair, Dr Claire Fuller, is the NNNSCCG Chair.
On 4 April 2020, members of the NNN Skin NTD Cross-Cutting Group met online to report the outcomes of and progress since the NNN Annual Conference in Liverpool, UK in September 2019. Presenters also shared their research findings and field experience on the spread and management of Skin NTDs with studies from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mexico, Liberia and Benin, as well as held a discussion on research ethics, methodology and integrated approaches.
The group noted the following:
- Skin-NTDs must be integrated into a broader approach to identifying and treating skin diseases
- Building the capacity of Health Workers is important and should be a priority at all levels, from a community level to a specialist one
- Skin-NTD programs must work in partnership and focus on pooling resources to ensure that programs are viable and cost-effective
To address some of the above areas, participants agreed to:
- Utilise an integrated approach
- Create a platform to share resources and lessons learnt
- Identify and establish sources of funding for Skin NTD research and programming
- Push for greater collaboration at local, national and international levels
- Increase capacity building for Health Workers at all levels