Please join us as we discuss the successes (and challenges) of compassion as the foundation of the movement to eliminate NTDs.

The movement to eliminate NTDs: Successes & challenges of a foundation in compassion

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
11:00 am-12:30 pm EDT (GMT -4)

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Throughout its history, compassion has been prominent in the NTD movement. While the eradication of diseases, such as polio and smallpox, has focused almost exclusively on prevention, the goals of NTD elimination are to both interrupt disease transmission and provide care to those already affected. Compassion is integral to both.

The NTD community also emphasizes human rights approaches in its programming, ensuring that affected persons have a prominent voice in the design and evaluation of programs. Nevertheless, critics have sometimes perceived the NTD community’s efforts as being characterized by ‘pity’ or ‘charity,’ rather than compassion.

This GHCR will explore these dimensions of compassion in the NTD community through an impassioned conversation with persons affected by NTDs, NTD experts from around the world, and global public health authorities.


Dr. Mwelecele Ntuli Malecela
Director, Dept. of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, WHO
Dr. Malecela’s demonstrated commitment to NTDs is evident through her leadership at the African Regional Program for NTDs, membership on WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee for NTDs, and founding of the Tanzanian Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program. She also previously served as the first female Director General of the National Institute for Medical Research for Tanzania where she led the launch of mass treatment campaigns. This catalyzed massive global scale-up to target the 120 million people affected by lymphatic filariasis and blazed a trail for control and elimination strategies for the majority of the 20 NTDs.

Dr. Uche Amazigo
Retired Director,
African Programme for Onchocerciasis, WHO
Dr. Amazigo has devoted most of her academic, public, and international career to the elimination of NTDs through community participation and strengthening health systems. Her accomplishments include groundbreaking research that contributed to the creation of the WHO’s African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control, as well as the revolutionary “community-directed treatment (CDT)” strategy�heralded as one of the most effective strategies of community participation in public health. She has been instrumental in moving the fight against river blindness from control to elimination.

Dr. Suma Krishnasastry
Professor of Medicine & Director of Filariasis Research Unit, Government Medical College, Alappuzha, India
Dr. Krishnasastry has been an active researcher and educator in lymphatic filariasis for over three decades. Under her leadership, the Filariasis Research Unit plays a central role in creating policies, developing simple techniques to alleviate the suffering of patients with lymphoedema, and providing training for health care workers around the world in the optimal care of these patients. This work resulted in WHO designating the Unit as a WHO Collaborating Centre for lymphatic filariasis morbidity management and disability prevention. Dr. Krishnasastry is also a member of WHO’s panel of experts on parasitic disease.

Rev. Mathias Duck
Global Advocacy Manager,
Leprosy Mission International
Mathias was a pastor/chaplain at a reference hospital for leprosy in Paraguay from 2010-2015; five years later he was diagnosed with leprosy and completed multi-drug therapy. Now he is focused on improving leprosy services by raising the voices and participation of people affected in decision-making and in the delivery of these services. He is also the Chair of the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Association’s advisory panel of persons affected by leprosy.

What are Global Health Compassion Rounds?
The Rounds are a quarterly gathering of a global community to share experiences, challenge ideas, and spark thinking on compassion in global health. We explore the role of compassion in health systems, policy, programs, and service delivery. Each webinar centers on a specific theme that features insights and perspectives from practitioners in the field, subject matter experts, scholars, and contemplative thinkers. We invite you to join our growing community!

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Hosted by the Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics (FACE) at the Task Force for Global Health and the WHO Global Learning Laboratory (GLL).