MEDIA ADVISORY | African Media Agency

MEDIA ADVISORY | African Media Agency

Join #StaySafe Africa Virtual Bridges Series:
A Conversation with the World Health Organization: “Neglected Tropical Diseases and Covid-19: Why we need the new NTD Roadmap more than ever”

DAKAR, Senegal, 29 June, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The challenge Africa is currently facing is two-fold: curbing the spread of COVID-19, whilst also maintaining access to essential health services for those suffering from other diseases. In April 2020, Speak Up Africa launched the Stay Safe Africa campaign. The Stay Safe Africa campaign brings together partners, journalists, civil society organizations, private-sector companies and country and local leaders to work towards our common goal of saving lives by increasing investments and awareness to protect our continent from this new threat while ensuring access and treatment from other ongoing health threats.

As part of the Stay Safe Africa Campaign, Speak Up Africa launched a series of online conversations to address good practices and policy shifts that may affect how our communities, public health systems and service providers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of the series, we will host experts from different sectors who will discuss successful public health interventions, how to ensure responses promote health equity and reduce inequality and provide different scenarios for ensuring the provision of essential services during these uncertain times.

A Conversation with the World Health Organization: “Neglected Tropical Diseases and Covid-19: Why we need the new NTD Roadmap more than ever”

In our third conversation with the media, the World Health Organization Director for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) will give an update on the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Covid-19 context, provide a high-level view of the post Covid-19 world in respect to NTDs, the changes and challenges and highlight why we need the new NTD Roadmap more than ever. The WHO Representative for Madagascar will share information on the current mass drug administration (MDA) campaign taking place in Madagascar, and safely resuming NTD interventions in the context of COVID-19.

• Dr. Mwelecele Malecela, Director, Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization
• Dr. Charlotte Ndiaye, WHO Representative for Madagascar
• 12:00-12:05 GMT: Eloïne Barry, CEO of African Media Agency to introduce speaker and theme of the conference.
• 12:05-12:25 GMT: WHO NTD Director remarks and presentation to include an overview of the Roadmap.
• 12:25-12:45 GMT: WHO Madagascar representative to update on ongoing Mass Drug Administration campaign in the context of Covid-19.
• 12:45-13:00 GMT: Q&A session.

WHERE: Online via Zoom

DATE: 1 July, 2020


REGISTRATION: To register, click this link

If you have any questions, please email: [email protected]

The event will be recorded, hosted on Zoom and live streamed on Facebook.

Spotlight on the new WHO Neglected Tropical Diseases road map: A Road map for recovery. Why we need WHO NTD Road map now, more than ever.

Despite disruptions due to COVID-19, WHO’s Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) continues its engagement with countries, regions, partners, stakeholders and the public to sustain momentum generated by the recent initiative to collaborate around the launch of the new road map for 2021-2030.

The World Health Organization undertook a comprehensive and iterative consultative process to develop the NTD Roadmap to reach and surpass the Sustainable Development Goals and to deliver equitable care for all. This Roadmap, initially scheduled to be launched on June 17, has now been postponed to a later date as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID 19 is set to globally change the landscape of public health for a long time. Its economic and social impact will last for years to come disrupting health and wellbeing of billions. It is clear that approaches may have to change including a rethinking of resources and programme orientation. As a visionary document, the 2030 NTD Roadmap proposes a new model of operation, setting out a brighter future. Its importance is even more pertinent as we deal with the pandemic and this cannot be overstressed. The roadmap seeks to promote resilience, health system strengthening, equity and country ownership. It presents NTDs with a Roadmap to recovery.

Before COVID-19, integration, collaboration and partnership were aspirations in a community defined by vertical, top-down programmes. Overcoming NTDs must necessarily be carried out in conjunction with the many other programmes – malaria, TB, immunization, the whole gamut of public health interventions – all of which face a radically changed public health landscape. Failure to collaborate and pool-in resources and efforts will jeopardize the progress made over the past decade.

Today, the new road map is more critical than ever. At its heart, it seeks to promote resilience, health system strengthening, equity and country ownership – none of which can be imposed. These tasks require strong collaboration and collective action to demonstrate that health is a basic and universal human right, regardless of social or economic status. To achieve the much-needed recovery we must focus on basic principles – on patients not their diseases – to enable countries themselves to own and action their NTD programmes.

More information on the NTD Roadmap here.

Spotlight on Madagascar
In Madagascar, more than 18 million people, out of 26 million, required preventive chemotherapy for at least one neglected tropical disease in 2016. The Ministry of Health of Madagascar, supported by the WHO, planned to launch their MDA campaign in March 2020, to prevent and treat lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis. This MDA was then cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the donated tablets will soon expire, both entities are planning to implement the MDA in 58 (out of the 114) districts, the week of June 22, 2020.

Stay Safe Africa
The Stay Safe Africa campaign is powered by Speak Up Africa, a Policy and Advocacy Action Tank dedicated to catalyzing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa. Learn more about the Stay Safe Africa campaign at

Speakers’ Biographies

Dr. Mwelecele Malecela, Director, Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization

Dr. Mwelecele Malecela is WHO’s Director for Neglected Tropical Diseases. She moved to the Organization’s headquarters in Geneva from the Regional Office for Africa, where she held the position of director in the Office of the Regional Director. A Tanzanian national, she previously served as the Director General of the National Institute for Medical Research and as founding Director of the Tanzania Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Programme.

Dr. Charlotte Ndiaye, WHO Representative for Madagascar

Dr. Charlotte Ndiaye took up her assignment as WHO Resident Representative for the Republic of Madagascar and La Réunion Island in July 2015. Before this appointment, Dr. Ndiaye served as WHO Representative in Togo and Cameroon. Dr. Ndiaye coordinated the health cluster in Cameroon within the Humanitarian Coordination Team and was Acting Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for 18 months Dr. Ndiaye joined WHO in 2002 and served as Regional Advisor for Oral Health in WHO Regional office in Brazzaville and in Zimbabwe.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of #StaySafeAfrica .

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