In September the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations became a member of the Neglected Tropical Disease NGDO Network following a successful application by ILEP General Secretary, Mr Douglas Soutar, who has been appointed to the NNN’s Executive Group.
Says Mr Douglas Soutar of the opportunity this presents: “ILEP’s involvement with this international network provides an important opportunity not only to bring the experience of leprosy work to the wider NTD networks, but also to identify potential areas for synergy and collaboration with those working in other NTDs”.
ILEP was well represented at the fourth annual meeting of the NNN held in Brighton, 18th – 20th September 2013. Mr Andrew Clark, Assistant General Secretary, made a presentation on leprosy. Dr Wim van Brakel, Senior Advisor in Public Health, Royal Tropical Institute and member of the ILEP Technical Commission, gave a presentation on continuum of care and community-based rehabilitation Linda Lehman, Technical Director, Programs, of American Leprosy Missions and ILEP Representative in Brazil, spoke about leprosy and integrated care. In addition, an NTD mapping tool was launched as also the new NTD NGDO Network website.
The aims and objectives of the NNN, which was formed in 2009, and its Executive Group are:
o To increase the expansion and effectiveness of advocacy for neglected tropical disease control by giving NGDOs a unified voice at national and international levels on comprehensive elimination and control programmes, community ownership/root in development and strengthening health systems.
o To facilitate the formation of partnerships among the group’s members, at the international, regional and national levels.
o To provide a mechanism allowing for co-ordination of NGDO activities at national and international levels to avoid duplication of efforts, identify opportunities for synergy, track progress towards goals and identify research needs.
o To share technical updates, develop and uphold best practices, and contribute to WHO guidelines to control and/or eliminate individual NTDs, integrate NTD activities, promote and support comprehensive control and prevention programmes and standardise systems and practices.
o To present the common interests and concerns of implementing NGDOs with a unified voice in mechanisms being established for the mobilization of implementation resources.
o Through its members, support the development and maintenance of national task forces of NTD endemic countries. Assist the task forces to develop and implement national plans and to identify gaps and co-ordinate strategies to meet implementation resource shortfalls.
ILEP joins existing NNN members: Sightsavers International, Mectizan Donation Program, International Trachoma Initiative, the Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases, GlaxoSmithKline, Helen Keller International, iMA World Health, Lepra, Malaria Consortium, Organisation pour la Prévention de la Cécité (Organisation for the Prevention of Blindness), Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, Children Without Worms, Merck, Mitosath, Handicap International, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, Light for the World, ORBIS International, Pfizer, The Carter Center, CBM, Eyes of the World, Fred Hollows Foundation, Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Lions Clubs International Foundation, World Vision International, The University of Melbourne Indigenous Eye Health Program, Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, RTI International Envision, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Front Against River Blindness and Health & Development International.