The END Fund CEO and WEF Africa Co-Chair, Ellen Agler will host a multisectoral discussion themed “Ending Neglected Diseases to Enable Africa’s Prosperity” on how ending neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) can contribute to fulfilling Africa’s growth potential and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The END Fund is one of the leading global organizations dedicated to ending NTDs on the African continent.
Ms. Agler will be joined by Dr. Mwele Malecela, Director of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the WHO, Carl Manlan, Chief Operating Officer of the Ecobank Foundation, Mark Suzman, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Tsitsi Masiyiwa, Founder and Co-Chairperson, Higherlife Foundation.
This discussion will focus on how the persistence of neglected diseases in Africa not only affects people’s health but also limits access to educational and economic opportunities.
“Investing in neglected tropical diseases is an investment in human capital - both for this generation and for decades to come. By removing the barriers of sickness and disability, NTD programs give millions of people the chance to live a full, productive life. I’m pleased to participate in this meeting to talk about the critical role of private investment, including from the pharmaceutical industry, in making this possible,” commented Suzman.
NTDs are a group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases affecting more than 1.5 billion of the world’s population, with about 40% of this burden concentrated in Africa.
The five most common NTDs - intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, and river blindness - have debilitating effects including severe pain, disabilities, blindness and can even lead to death.
On the continent, 600 million people are affected by preventable NTDs.
Reducing this number would enable them to live a healthier and more prosperous life and allow the continent to break out of the cycle of poverty.
“Although, there have been great strides in the fight against NTDs, there is still more progress needed to get to the end. It is very possible that we can rid the world of these diseases in our lifetime. I am excited to have this meaningful conversation with our partners in this space on how together, our work can catalyze development on the continent,” said CEO Ellen Agler.
This topical conversation is aligned with the WEF Africa 2019 theme of “Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
As part of the ongoing global dialogue, this talk shall also focus on how the work on NTDs complements stakeholder cooperation and sustainable growth in the African landscape.