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Calling Ottawa to Kigali: an opportunity for Canada to fight neglected tropical diseases

As part of World NTD Day, Dr. Alison Krentel and Senator Stanley Kutcher co-authored an op-ed in the Hill Times on the importance of Canadian endorsement of the Kigali Declaration. On January 30th, over 100 landmarks around the world were illuminated orange and purple to mark World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day. These lightings signalled the importance of ending the ancient diseases of poverty and disadvantage we call Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Here in Canada, illuminations of the CN Tower, the Calgary Tower and Niagara Falls occurred. However, we mustn’t only make symbolic statements but also commitments. Effective, rapid and determined action is needed.

Canada needs to sign the Kigali Declaration to show that it is committed to ending the neglect of NTDs and thus improving the lives of over a billion people globally. Canadian investments have long supported NTDs (for example, the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control, Effect Hope’s Every Child Thrives Project, Nutrition International’s deworming and nutrition programs). Canadian researchers average 160 scientific papers a year on NTDs contributing our knowledge and innovation to the global evidence base. Canada has already adopted a resolution on NTDs as part of the International Organization of the Francophonie, has supported PAHO's elimination plan for the Americas and has supported the launch of the WHO NTD Roadmap in 2021, which was ratified at the World Health Assembly in November 2020. Signing the Kigali Declaration will signal to the world that Canada is committed to helping ensure that proven treatments and prevention solutions reach those in most need.

"We call on Canada to sign the Kigali Declaration in 2022. The time for action is now."

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