ALMA congratulates Togo for championing the elimination of NTDs in Africa
Dar Es Salaam, 23 August 2022 – The African Leaders Malaria Alliance joins the global community in congratulating Togo for its recognition as the first country in the world to eliminate four (4) Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Togo received this distinction yesterday at the 72nd Session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for Africa currently underway in the country.
Acknowledging the distinction in Lomé, H.E. President Faure Gnassingbé of Togo said, “I thank you for your appreciation of my country’s achievements in the elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases. This progress has been made possible thanks to the dedication and commitment of all health actors who are working at all levels in our country to preserve this precious good that is health. Health is a priority that we have placed at the heart of our development policies. One of the ambitions of the government’s roadmap to 2025 is to guarantee health coverage and access to basic services for all.”
This recognition follows the country’s validation by the World Health Organization (WHO) as having eliminated Trachoma as a public health problem earlier in May this year. This made Togo the fourth African country after Morocco, the Gambia and Ghana to receive validation for eliminating the disease which is a leading cause of blindness and visual impairment. In preceding years, the country has further been validated for the elimination of three (3) other NTDs.
In 2020, Togo received WHO validation for eliminating human African trypanosomiasis or “sleeping sickness” as a public health problem. This made Togo the first African country to reach this milestone. Additionally, the country in 2017 received validation for eliminating lymphatic filariasis making it the first sub-Saharan country to achieve this global target established at the 50th World Health Assembly. In 2011, the country, formerly endemic to Dracunculiasis otherwise known as Guinea worm disease, received WHO certification for eliminating the disease which is caused by Dracunculus medinensis, a parasitic worm transmitted through contaminated water.
Togo’s progress is on account of the country’s two-pronged approach that focused on first, interrupting transmission and preventing occurrence of new infections; and secondly, treating or managing diseases, their associated morbidity, and their complications, to alleviate suffering.
In 2021, the country adopted a Strategic Plan designed to aid in the fight against NTDs, demonstrating the country’s commitment to ending these diseases which are preventable and treatable.
Togo’s milestones are a demonstration that the fight against NTDs can indeed be won.