Youth Combating NTDs founder and Zimbabwean entrepreneur Gerald Chirinda unveiled his global advisory board today as he urged world leaders not to forget NTDs in the fight against Covid-19.
Included in the inspirational young line up is a scientist from Gambia, an anthropologist from the Philippines and a fellow Zimbabwean, Alistair Shingirai Mukondiwa.
Gerald Chirinda is proud that so many young people are stepping up to be heard. He says: “As the largest demographic in the world, young people are also the largest at risk of being affected by NTDs. Young people represent a key constituent within the community, one that brings energy, innovative thinking and talent. Youth Combating NTDs is a global community of young people who are fighting to end NTDs. This youth-focused and led initiative is designed to mainstream the participation of young people within the NTD community across all its activities. We empower young leaders that are passionate about learning, with a view of being actively involved in the work of the NTD community in various capacities that range from advocacy to policy making.”
Gerald and members of his new advisory board joined speakers from the World Health Organization (WHO), government officials and a variety of NGOs at a virtual global event calling on world leaders not to forget the fight against NTDs – which affect one in five people on the planet.
One of the participants, Zimbabwean student Alistair Shingirai Mukondiwa, 24, is delighted with his new appointment on the advisory board. He says: “Joining the board has been humbling. As a young person and a healthcare student, it’s about taking ownership of the future and correcting the past that allowed some diseases to be ‘neglected’ simply because of whom they affected. It is exciting that we are assisting community champions to accelerate the fight against NTDs, in countries such as my own and beyond.”
Gerald adds: “Our mission is to build an effective global community of youth who are fighting NTDs, by equipping and strengthening young advocates and leaders with the resources that amplify their voices and influence in innovating and shaping policies that will end NTDs in their communities. Millennials can help to end Neglected Tropical Diseases and our new advisory board will help us to spread that message.”
The full advisory board line-up
• Noella Bigirimana (Chair) – Rwanda
• Matt Hughsam – Canada
• Dr. Neneh Sallah – Gambia
• Enow Awah Georges Stevens – Cameroon
• Dr. Kikiope Oluwarore – Nigeria
• Nilesh Jambhekar – India
• Jona Claire Turalde – Phillipines
• Dr. Joachim Mabula – Tanzania
• Shomy Hasan Chowdhury – Bangladesh
• Geoffrey Otieno – Kenya
• Lucy Fagan – United Kingdom
• Alistair Shingirai Mukondiwa – Zimbabwe
• Mary-Jean Nleya – Botswana