India joins global movement to raise awareness on Neglected Tropical Diseases

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Observing the 3rd World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day as a key moment to highlight the global community’s commitment to ending these, India joined close to 40 other nations to illuminate iconic landmarks to raise awareness.

This year, India lit up the New Delhi Railway Station in purple and orange hues to mark the occasion.

At a virtual event organised by National Centre for Vector Borne Diseases Control (NCVBDC) to observe World NTD Day, Joint Secretary, Health, Dr Harmeet Singh Grewal, said that the aim of illuminating the iconic New Delhi Railway Station was to generate awareness about NTDs in the visiting public and showcase progress and achievements towards their elimination.

Emphasising on creating a people’s movement to eliminate the NTDs, he said: “There is a need for a behavioural change. We must fight it together and engage school children, social workers, activists etc. to create a mass movement to elimination NTDs.”

NTDs are caused mostly by a variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, and toxins which affect over 1.7 billion people globally. They are called ‘neglected’ because they are almost absent from the global health agenda of the developed countries and are associated with stigma and social exclusion.

Lauding India’s efforts towards eliminating these diseases, NCVBDC Director, Dr Tanu Jain, said: “Most people don’t know about NTDs because these diseases effect the poor and marginalised communities. We need to elevate messaging about NTDs and highlight the positive, ambitious, and winnable NTD goals by focusing on the NTD elimination target. This would happen through close coordination between all stakeholders.”

In Jharkhand, Gujarat, and Karnataka too, iconic landmarks and monuments were illuminated as part of their commitment to eliminate NTDs. In Jharkhand, the renowned Rajendra Circle in Ranchi and Clock Tower in Godda district were lit up in pink and orange colours. The office building of the Department of Health and Family Welfare in Bengaluru was also illuminated to mark the occasion.

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