NNN calls for urgent and comprehensive action on NTDs, introducing BEST Framework

08 Dec 2016
The Neglected Tropical Disease NGDO Network (NNN), a global forum for NGOs working towards a world free of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) is calling on all partners to support to comprehensive action in areas beyond the traditional remit of NTD programs and to cultivate the cross sectoral partnerships needed to address these diseases within the broader development agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To guide these efforts, the NNN is introducing the BEST Framework. 
Read the NNN communique in full: 

New frontiers: using the BEST Framework to connect Neglected Tropical Diseases to global development

The Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network (NNN) was established in October 2009 to create a global forum for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working towards a world free of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). These diseases are concentrated among the poorest 40% of people in low- and middle-income countries, and therefore exacerbate poverty and undermine the achievement of the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals. 
In 2012, NTD stakeholders including NGOs, inspired by the WHO Roadmap for Implementation, Accelerating work to overcome the impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases, came together to commit to the ambitious goals of the London Declaration on NTDs. 2017 marks five years from the start of this momentous effort; we have made significant progress and we are committed to continuing to build on these efforts to achieve our shared goal of a world free of NTDs. 
During its 7th annual meeting in Washington DC 29-30 September 2016, NNN members commended the leading development partners, including the US and the UK governments, and pharmaceutical companies for their game-changing investment in NTD treatment and control programs. The NTD community urgently calls on all partners to pledge their support to the full range of partnerships within the London Declaration, across prevention, treatment, surveillance and research and development; and cultivate the cross sectoral partnerships needed to address NTDs within the broader development agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 
One year has passed since the agreement of the SDGs. For the first time, NTDs are explicitly included in the global development framework1, strengthening the pathway to tackling NTD risks which threaten to undermine global efforts to eradicate poverty. 
Addressing inequalities and reaching everyone, everywhere is fundamental to what we do in NTDs and is also at the core of the SDGs. We recognise the need to support the achievement of the NTD indicator within the health goal (SDG3) as well the achievement of other goals on water, sanitation and hygiene (SDG6) and the progressive attainment of universal health coverage. Above this, we commit to the promise to leave no one behind and address inequality through an NTDs lens. In line with the vision of SDG 17, the NTD community will work to model and implement partnerships with all relevant stakeholders to achieve the overall vision of the SDGs. 
Tackling inequalities and supporting health systems to attain universal health coverage mandates a change to ‘business as usual’. To achieve this, we need a clear and comprehensive platform for action and a community of practice that delivers this framework. The NNN will prioritise new areas of action including social inclusion, veterinary public health and vector control alongside existing priorities. 
The BEST Framework concept – Behaviour, Environment, Social inclusion and equity and Treatment and care – developed by the NNN, provides an overarching framework to guide our efforts. It is how we respond to the SDG agenda, and complements existing initiatives. It provides our community with a framework under which the NNN and other stakeholders can collaborate across sectors and agencies to ensure the achievement of multiple NTD interventions within one comprehensive package. It reaffirms our commitment to working through and strengthening existing national systems in support of government and community priorities. 
The BEST framework requires comprehensive action in areas beyond the traditional remit of NTD programmes, and, by implications, new partnerships and capacities. 
Our work on water, sanitation and hygiene already demonstrates a shift towards a comprehensive approach to NTDs. Our implementation of the WHO WASH and NTDs strategy embodies supportive collaboration and the beginning of a community of practice around WASH and NTDs.
A One Health approach that considers human, animals and the environment is essential for meeting the NTD roadmap targets and to generating collaboration between relevant agencies and sectors. The new NNN agenda for action brings together NTDs, water and sanitation, and veterinary public health actors. 
As a community, NGOs have a shared vision to reach the most marginalised populations. We recognise that without targeted strategies and interventions, and without a specific emphasis on social inclusion, we will not be able to reach women, people with disabilities, those affected by mental ill health, people in conflict-affected and fragile areas, migratory populations, and out of school children. Reaching these marginalised groups is a priority for the NNN’s current and future work. 
In the year ahead, the NNN community will redouble its commitments to the broader development agenda and prioritise the development of the BEST framework in consultation with NNN members and other stakeholders. 
#WatchThisSpace and #NoMoreNTDs 
Ms Lisa Rotondo 
Dr Wendy Harrison 
1 SDG target 3.3 aims to “By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), and combat hepatitis, waterborne diseases and other communicable diseases.”

Download a PDF of the communique (PDF 108Kb)