Reaching the Last Billion

20 September 2018

Reaching the Last Billion
... it’s perhaps a surprise to many that we are talking about the last billion! Yet, that is the reality of a group of people affected by NTDs...

Written by Pete Garratt, Head of Operations Support, The Leprosy Mission International Office.

It’s that time of year when the annual gathering of NGOs involved in the Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network (NNN) takes place, this time in Addis Ababa at the kind invitation of the Ministry of Health. This year promises to be the biggest conference yet and indicates how seriously the fight to rid the world of NTDs is being waged. I can’t wait to see and hear about the latest cross disease collaborations and am looking forward to seeing the sparks of new ideas fly around the venue.

Once again TLM is heavily involved in presenting and sharing our learning, with speakers from TLM Bangladesh, TLM India and the International Office. Once again we are leading the way in ensuring that people affected by NTDs are present at the conference and that their voice is heard. I am especially looking forward to welcoming Suresh, Ujwala and Mohan.

This year’s theme is ‘reaching the last billion’ and it’s perhaps a surprise to many that we are talking about the last billion! Yet, that is the reality of a group of people affected by NTDs, whom the World Health Organization estimates number in excess of one billion. So much progress has been made, especially in the last ten years, but so much more remains before us.

This is the last year in which I will be representing the ILEP and leprosy community on the executive committee of NNN, with Geoff Warne taking over as he picks up his new role as the CEO of ILEP. It’s fitting then that, together with fellow ILEP members, American Leprosy Missions, Netherlands Leprosy Relief and Fairmed, TLM is the title sponsor of the conference, reflecting our commitment to NTD collaboration. Indeed, our new global strategy stresses the importance of partnerships and we will continue to seek the right opportunities for NTD coordination.

 

Pete Garratt is Head of Operations Support at The Leprosy Mission International Office, based in London. He joined the Mission in 2014, bringing more than 16 years of experience in leadership positions with a range of international development and humanitarian organisations, working predominantly across Asia and Africa. Pete is especially motivated about seeing leprosy defeated within his working lifetime.