Accra, 28 June 2012 -- The annual meeting of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Programme Managers in the WHO African Region began on Thursday in Accra, the Ghanaian capital.
Opening the meeting, the WHO Representative in Ghana, Dr Idrissa Sow, representing the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo, urged participants to come up with suggestions on how countries could capitalize on the renewed global momentum to tackle NTDs.
He added: "As Programme Managers, you are expected to play a key role in advocacy, coordination, collaboration, integration, sustainability and resource mobilization. It is also your responsibility to explore avenues at country level for things to happen, learning from successes and failures".
Dr Sow re-iterated the Regional Director's earlier statement that the momentum to control and eliminate targeted NTDs has accentuated the need for stronger leadership and better coordination, indicating that WHO is responding to this by defining four strategic areas.
These strategic areas are strengthening government ownership coordination, advocacy and partnership; enhancing planning for results, resource mobilization and financial sustainability of national programmes; scaling up access to interventions, treatment and service delivery capacities; and enhancing monitoring, surveillance and operational research.
Participants at the meeting will also discuss ways to link up with national medical directors so that the relevant authorities in endemic countries not only establish dedicated budget lines on NTDs, but are also informed of elements of the roadmap being developed for NTD control as well as a proposal for the issue of a call to action to tackle NTDs.
The objectives of the three-day meeting include agreeing on approaches for strengthening NTD coordination mechanisms in countries; identifying measures to scale up NTD interventions, and obtaining inputs to country NTD multi-year plans, priorities and resource requirements.