100 LANDMARKS ACROSS THE WORLD LIGHT UP IN UNITY TO RAISE AWARENESS TO END NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES ON WORLD NTD DAY 2022

100 landmarks in 32 countries lit up in unity to mark the third annual World NTD Day on January 30, 2022 including The Bell Tower in Perth, Tokyo Tower, Great Wall of China, Kuala Lumpur Tower, Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi, Expo 2020 Dubai, The Rome Colosseum, Jet d’ Eau, Niagara Falls, CN Tower, Carter Presidential Library, and Christ the Redeemer.

A special focus was placed on notable landmarks in endemic countries including Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Sudan. Originally announced in Abu Dhabi in 2019, the 100 ‘light ups’ aim to shine a light on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), as World NTD Day supports the goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) to eliminate at least one NTD from 100 endemic countries by 2030.

World NTD Day is a global movement that aims to galvanize the global health community and engage the public in the urgent effort to end NTDs. This year Uniting to Combat NTDs used the Day to launch the 100% Committed movement, which exists to begin securing political and financial commitments in support of the Kigali Declaration on NTDs.

Thoko Pooley, Executive Director of Uniting to Combat NTDs, said: “Today, building on the success of the London Declaration on NTDs, and recognising the changing global landscape, we are using World NTD Day 2022 as a catalyst for action. We are launching the 100% Committed campaign, a global movement to secure increased resources for neglected tropical diseases, and crucially to facilitate political leadership and ownership of NTD programmes from affected countries, through endorsements and signatories behind the new Kigali Declaration on NTDs.”

Through the UAE helmed diplomatic efforts to obtain official recognition of the day with several WHO Member States, World NTD Day was officially recognized by the WHO in May 2021. The Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi continues to play a leading role in building partnerships and supporting World NTD Day through the Reaching the Last Mile Initiative (RLM), a portfolio of global health programs focused on accelerating progress towards disease elimination that are driven by the personal commitment of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Nassar Al Mubarak, Senior Director at the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, said: “World NTD Day represents an important catalyst to translate awareness into action – it is not only crucial for the public to know more about these diseases, but also for donors, endemic countries and other stakeholders to collaborate to bring an end to NTDs in affected countries. Over the past few decades, incredible progress has been made towards ending NTDs; however, one in five people in the most vulnerable communities around the world are still affected by these preventable and treatable diseases. We are pleased to see the Day providing a platform for raising awareness through the new 100% Committed campaign and efforts such as the light-up activation. We hope that this movement continues to gain traction and spark new partnerships and commitments necessary to beat NTDs for good.”

NTDs are a group of communicable diseases that are preventable and treatable, yet continue to affect more than 1.7 billion people worldwide, including 1 billion children. There are 20 diseases that cause immeasurable suffering – they debilitate, disfigure and can be fatal. NTDs create cycles of poverty and cost developing nations billions of dollars every year.