Geneva. This week, leaders from governments, pharmaceutical companies and charitable organisations are convening in Geneva to pledge their commitments to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
NTDs, which include sleeping sickness, trachoma and riverblindness among others, are on the global agenda now as World Health Organisation (WHO) and other stakeholders meet to review the progress made in controlling the diseases - five years after the launch of the London Declaration on NTDs.
Tanzania is affected by five of the most common NTDs, local reports indicate. At the Geneva summit, the health stakeholders are focussing on 10 NTDs.
Tanzania adopted the National NTD Master plan for 2013-2017 to control diseases such as trachoma.
The country is considered one of the priority countries the elimination of trachoma, a disease that can cause blindness and is prevalent in more about 50 districts of the country.
The country also harbours lymphatic filariasis, whereby about 45 million people live in areas of high risk for the disease, according to End Fund, one of the NGOs fighting NTDs in Tanzania.
NTDs are some of the oldest and painful diseases afflicting the world's poorest communities. One in six people suffer from NTDs globally, including more than half a billion children, data from WHO show.