Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) has signed an agreement with World Health Organization (WHO)’s Regional Office for Africa worth 3 million USD, on the sidelines of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH).
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 in 2016. ESPEN’s goal is support African countries to reduce the burden of five most prevalent Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa. These include Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), Onchocerciasis (Oncho), Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH), Schistosomiasis (SCH) and Trachoma (TRA).
The agreement was signed by Mr. Misfer Hamad Al-Shahwani, Deputy Director General for Development Projects, QFFD, and Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director of Africa. This is the first agreement between the Qatar Fund for Development and the World Health Organization.
Mr. 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 report 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.”
He added: “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.”
While signing the grant agreement, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Moeti expressed gratitude to the Qatar Fund for Development for the donation and commended its vision of helping the needy. She said: “I am delighted that the Qatar Fund for Development has joined the community of partners that are working together to break the chain of poverty and misery caused by these diseases”.
ESPEN in collaboration with Ministries of Health and other partners, aims to boost preventive treatment across all endemic countries in the region by 2020. It will strengthen the supply chain to ensure that drugs are utilized and tracked appropriately.
The funding which covers 2018 -2020, will support vulnerable populations in rural, urban informal settlements and conflict zones in African countries. It will also support strengthening of information systems for evidence-based decision-making and measuring progress towards the elimination of NTDs.
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.