India joins global movement to illuminate 100 landmarks across the globe to raise awareness on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

New Delhi: Observing the 3rd World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day yesterday, as a key moment to highlight the global community’s commitment to ending NTDs, India joined close to 40 other nations to illuminate the iconic New Delhi Railway Station in purple and orange hues, which is one of the busiest railway stations in the country in terms of train frequency and passenger movement.

At the virtual event organized by National Centre for Vector Borne Diseases Control (NCVBDC) to observe World NTD Day, Dr Harmeet Singh Grewal, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare highlighted 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. He also emphasized on creating a people’s movement to eliminate the NTDs. “There is a need for a behavioral 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. They affect over 1.7 billion people globally. They are “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, with a keen focus on Lymphatic Filariasis, Dengue and Visceral Leishmaniasis, Dr. Tanu Jain, Director, NCVBDC said, “Most people don’t know about NTDs because these diseases effect the poor and marginalized 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, renowned Rajendra Circle in Ranchi and Clock Tower in Godda district were lit up in pink and orange colours in observance of the World NTD Day. The office building of the Department of Health and Family Welfare in Bangalore was also illuminated to mark the World NTD Day.

 

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