22 June 2022 · Raoul Follereau Foundation
Côte d’Ivoire: Zero Leprosy by 2030
On June 1 and 2 in Abidjan, a major advocacy and resource mobilization meeting took place to achieve an objective: zero leprosy in Côte d’Ivoire. These two days were a success and resulted in the signing of the “Abidjan Declaration.”
The Raoul Follereau Foundation is, in Côte d’Ivoire, a member of a global partnership, the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy, which brings together organizations fighting leprosy. Together, they established a consensus on the working method, the phasing of actions, and the cost to achieve zero leprosy by 2030.
The country’s Zero Leprosy Roadmap was presented to the Ivorian authorities and actors in the fight against leprosy during these two days of advocacy. Major companies in the country, as well as public figures, also took part in this decisive and important meeting, which concluded with the signing of a joint declaration by the various players in the fight against leprosy and the obtaining of funds to implement the strategic plan.
In Côte d’Ivoire, leprosy has reached the elimination threshold defined by the WHO, namely less than 1 case of leprosy detected per 10,000 inhabitants. Although the disease is no longer a public health problem according to the WHO, it remains endemic in the country with 500 cases detected per year, of which 9% are children and 25% have developed disabilities.
The disease continues to spread and shatters lives, sometimes young lives.
A common and strong commitment
The NGOs present are the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy, the Raoul Follereau Foundation, the Anesvad Foundation, American Leprosy Missions, the Sasakawa Health Foundation, the Novartis Foundation, Hope Commission International, the Ivorian Raoul Follereau Association, the KED Foundation, Effect Hope, and Sightsavers, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed a declaration which represents the roadmap to achieve zero leprosy by 2030. The declaration is called the “Abidjan Declaration.”
The signing of this Abidjan declaration is also the formalization of a consensus on the working method to achieve zero leprosy by 2030. “This does not mean that there will be no more new cases but we want to reduce them by 70%, divide by 10 the serious infirmities as well as the number of affected children,” explained Oleg Ouss, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Raoul Follereau Foundation.
The plan is based on 4 pillars:
- Develop an enabling environment for interventions
- Strengthen prevention,
- Provide disability services
- Fight against discrimination
To this end, the signatories have undertaken, among other things, to mobilize resources, create a steering committee for the implementation of the plan, strengthen their collaboration with the Ivorian State, detect the disease as early as possible, improve the structures of care and their access but also the living conditions of the poor populations.
To implement this action plan, “one of the elements of success is the involvement of political leaders,” emphasizes Oleg Ouss.
Strong involvement of the Ivorian State is one of the successes of this meeting since the Minister of Health, Pierre Dimba, is a signatory of the declaration. In addition, the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Patrick Achi, was present at the signing of the Abidjan declaration. He made a strong speech in favor of this new strategy. In his eyes, “we must go even further, as the President of the Republic Alassane Ouattara wishes, to eradicate one of the last immemorial scourges of our century.” The “Zero Leprosy 2030” plan amounts to nearly 10 billion FCFA (over 15 million).
Thanks to the support of our international partners, we will complete this noble fight for the well-being and health of Ivorians. – Patrick Achi, Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire
About the Raoul Follereau Foundation
For nearly 70 years, the Raoul Follereau Foundation has been mobilizing to help patients affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and more specifically by leprosy. Beyond care and medical care, the Raoul Follereau Foundation is present in the field before, during, and after the illness: awareness and screening campaigns, research, but also education, training, and reintegration programs. The Raoul Follereau Foundation is a partner of the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy, a global coalition that brings together all the actors working to treat leprosy patients: World Health Organization, pharmaceutical companies, researchers, patients, International Association against Leprosy (ILA), and the International Federation of Associations Against Leprosy (ILEP), of which Raoul Follereau Foundation is a founding member.
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