Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) has signed an agreement with World Health Organization (WHO) worth 3 million USD, on the sideline of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH). As QFFD announced the pledge earlier during the international conference “The Fight to Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) which held in Kuwait City hosted by Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and World Health Organization between 23 to 24 October of last year.
The agreement focuses on funding for the elimination of neglected tropical diseases that are still rampant in Sub-Saharan Africa. From QFFD Mr. Misfer Hamad Al-Shahwani, Deputy Director General for Development Projects signed the agreement and from WHO Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director of AFRO signed the agreement. This is the first agreement between the Qatar Fund for Development and the World Health Organization.
The funding is a significant boost to ongoing efforts by the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN), a five-year project which was launched by the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) in 2016 to support African countries to reduce the burden of five most prevalent Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa, including Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), Onchocerciasis (Oncho), Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH), Schistosomiasis (SCH) and Trachoma (TRA). ESPEN is ideally positioned to serve as a coordinating entity among partners and stakeholders and to add value to governments and partner investments through technical and operational support to endemic countries for the elimination of these debilitating diseases.
Mr. Misfer Al-Shahwani said: “The Qatar Fund for Development considers healthcare as one of the highest priority sectors, being part of the Sustainable Development Goals notably the third goal to ensure healthy lives and well-being for everyone. More than 70% of countries and territories that reports the presence of NTDs are low income or lower-middle income economies. Therefore, this kind of project aligns with the State of Qatar’s goal to help those in need around the world.”
“This contribution will help African countries to control and eliminate these NTDs, and thus support poverty alleviation, improve economic productivity, and ensure a decent life for affected people in Africa” added Mr. Misfer Al-Shahwani
From her side, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, expressed her gratitude to the Qatar Fund for Development for the donation and commended QFFD’s vision of helping the needy. She said: “I am delighted that QFFD has joined the community of partners that are working together to breaking the chain of poverty and misery caused by these diseases”.
The agreement aims at reaching 100% of the chemical treatment for the prevention of neglected diseases by 2020. The program will extend for two years from 2018 to 2020. It will support 47 African countries of the poorest populations who are living in rural areas, urban slums and conflict zones, through the treatment of debilitating diseases, and strengthening the information systems for evidence based decision-making and measuring progress towards the elimination of marginalized diseases, as well as improving the use of medicines to treat neglected tropical diseases.
This agreement comes within the framework of the State of Qatar’s interest in helping those in need and providing them with a better future. In addition, it is in line with Qatar Fund for Development’s vision of giving hope and promoting peace and justice through sustainable and comprehensive development.