During the World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day on Tuesday, January 30, at DP World Kigali, Masaka sector in Kicukiro District, Dr Aimable Mbituyumuremyi, Division Manager of Malaria and NTDs at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), said the reduction in NTDs is a long journey but current figures indicate that there is a progress of almost 60 per cent. ALSO READ: Commonwealth leaders ‘to make bold commitments’ on malaria, NTDs He noted that NTDs are neglected but teachers and community health workers are aware of them, adding that snakebite envenoming and rabies are common NTDs in Rwanda, thus urging the public who experience such cases to urgently go to the hospital when bitten by a dog or snake. Olivier Tuyishimire, the Senior Program Manager of Water for People in Rwanda (a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene-WASH NGO), said the more NTDs are talked about and communities sensitised, they can be prevented with proper toilets in place and access to clean water. He noted that 40 per cent of Rwandans have intestinal worms and yet it is preventable, stressing that clean toilets and clean water don’t require money, yet can curb NTDs. “WASH partners are working together to ensure that every school, hospital, and household has enough WASH facilities. NTDs have a very small budget, therefore, we are requesting everyone concerned to try to raise the funds and support to reduce these diseases,” Tuyishimire said. ALSO READ: From hygiene education to snakebite awareness: Rwanda’s fight against NTDs Noella Bigirimana, the Deputy Director General of RBC, said: “As we reflect on combating NTDs considering our 2030 roadmap and taking new strategies, Rwanda’s goal is to eliminate NTDs as public health threats in 2030. “We will work together and take sustainable measures as the government and civil societies because through collaboration we managed to eliminate sleeping sickness,” she said. On April 26, 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) validated Rwanda for successfully eliminating Human African Trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness. “Rwanda is committed to enhancing the collaboration with different actors to respond to the NTD burden. These include stakeholders and partners working in WASH, as well as the agriculture and animal sectors,” Bigirimana said. On World Neglected Tropical Disease Day, WHO is calling on everybody, including leaders and communities, to unite and act to address the inequalities that drive NTDs and make bold, sustainable investments to free the estimated 1.62 billion people in the world’s most vulnerable communities from a vicious cycle of disease and poverty. The purpose of World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day is to raise the profile of neglected tropical diseases, and the suffering they cause and to gather support towards their control, elimination, and eradication, in line with the programmatic targets set out in the NTD road map 2021−2030, and the commitments of the 2022 Kigali declaration on neglected tropical diseases. ALSO READ: Over $1.9bn raised towards Kigali Declaration against NTDs The Kigali Declaration on NTDs is a high-level, political declaration that is mobilising political will, community commitment, resources, and action, and securing commitments needed to end the suffering caused by NTDs.