ICTC welcomes UK aid commitments prioritising health to leave no one behind

02 Dec 2016

Rising to the challenge of ending poverty: The Bilateral Development Review 2016Following the UK government’s release of its 2017 aid review, ICTC welcomes the central commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ and the inclusion of people with disabilities and health as UK aid priority areas for the first time.

The review, released on 1 December, sets out how the UK will tackle poverty across the globe. In it, the UK commits to “implement the critical promise of the Global Goals to Leave No One Behind” and “continue to prioritise work that targets the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.”

Virginia Sarah, ICTC Chair:

“Neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma affect many of the poorest and most marginalised communities in the world so DFID’s continued commitment to leave no one behind is very positive news. We are so encouraged by the achievements of DFID’s existing initiatives and the exemplary leadership and invaluable support it is already providing to global efforts to tackle these hidden diseases.”

In 2012, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) funded a ground breaking three-year Global Trachoma Mapping Project involving many ICTC members which saw more than 550 teams of trained surveyors visit millions of people in remote locations throughout 29 countries. As the review highlights, the project demonstrates how technology can be used to transform lives by generating data to ensure program planning and intervention was efficiently targeted to areas most in need. It is also an example of the value of DFID’s pledge to “use evidence to prioritise the most cost-effective interventions, so as to maximise our impact on health outcomes.”

The focus to strengthen “work on disability and establish DFID as the global leader in this neglected and under-prioritised area” validates existing work to prevent the most debilitating effects of trachoma. Left untreated, trachoma can lead to blindness threatening the livelihoods of those affected. With DFID’s support, ICTC members are currently working together on a large-scale program to help protect the sight of millions of people in Africa at risk of developing blindness caused by trachoma. Along with a number of other large-scale grants, these investments ensured unprecedented momentum in efforts to eliminate trachoma.

The scale of these lifesaving improvements could not have been achieved without DFID’s invaluable contribution.

Orbis is one of the ICTC members involved in the DFID program in Ethiopia, the country with the highest rates of trachoma in the world. Andrew Wardle, Program Coordinator at Orbis:

“There are more than 75 million people living in trachoma-endemic areas in Ethiopia, the largest number of any country in the world. Yet, in 2016, Ethiopia reached a remarkable number of districts with surgery, antibiotics and improved hygiene to tackle trachoma. The scale of these lifesaving improvements could not have been achieved without DFID’s invaluable contribution.”

As well as disability, DFID’s prioritisation of inclusion can be seen in its promise to spend at least 50% of its budget in fragile states and regions. Simon Bush, ‎Director Neglected Tropical Diseases at Sightsavers which has acted as the Grant Manager for ICTC on the DFID Trachoma SAFE Implementation Program:

“Thanks to DFID’s support to fragile states and regions we have been able to work in some of the most challenging and hardest to reach, but most urgent, areas. The value of this cannot be understated. That this priority continues in the latest review is testament to DFID’s commitment to leave no one behind.”

DFID is helping to ensure that not only is trachoma eliminated once, but once and for all. 

Improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) provision will be key to successful management and control of a number of neglected tropical diseases so the continued prioritisation of WASH throughout the review is welcome. ICTC member WaterAid has been supporting the coalition's work on face washing and environmental improvement. Yael Velleman, WaterAid’s Senior Policy Analyst on Health:

“DFID is helping to ensure that not only is trachoma eliminated once, but once and for all. While past programs focused on providing antibiotics and surgery to those affected by trachoma, DFID is supporting ICTC and endemic country partners to deliver a holistic approach by also supporting WASH interventions alongside surgery and antibiotics. This is central to the sustained elimination of this disease.”

 

The full review consists of two documents: Rising to the challenge of ending poverty: The Bilateral Development Review 2016 and Raising the standard: The Multilateral Development Review 2016

Find out more about: 

The Global Trachoma Mapping Project

DFID's Trachoma SAFE Implementation Program 

The links between WASH and NTDs