FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – In the lead-up to World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day on January 30th, 2024, Internews Health Journalism Network (HJN), in collaboration with RTI International, is hosting a virtual event focused on progress made towards eliminating these diseases. The event will be livestreamed on YouTube, Facebook, and [Platform X] to ensure wide accessibility.

This virtual event holds particular significance for HJN members, many of whom hail from communities where NTDs remain a persistent challenge. The event offers them a unique opportunity to interact with global health experts and gain a deeper understanding of these diseases, their root causes, and ongoing efforts towards their elimination.

While significant strides have been made in the fight against NTDs, the event will acknowledge the remaining challenges, especially in light of current global health concerns. Discussions will delve into innovations in NTD vaccine development, along with in-depth explorations of Leishmaniasis and Noma disease. Notably, Noma is the first NTD added to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of 22 NTDs in over six years.

Focus on Sierra Leone

The event, originally held on Wednesday, January 24th at 5:39 PM via Zoom, served as a call to action for Internews journalists in Sierra Leone and across Africa. With 18 out of the 21 NTDs identified in Sierra Leone affecting people nationwide, Internews is committed to equipping journalists with the knowledge and resources needed to effectively report on NTDs and raise awareness about this critical public health issue.

By participating in this virtual event and subsequent reporting efforts, journalists can play a crucial role in advocating for increased resources, promoting preventative measures, and ultimately, contributing to the elimination of NTDs in Sierra Leone and beyond.

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