In this short video, Yoko Reikan describes her role as a UN volunteer and in supporting the work of the Access and Delivery Partnership (ADP) in Ghana. Through her specific role as a Technical Officer with the UNDP team in Accra, she helps with promotion of universal health coverage in the country and on programmes aimed at local elimination of neglected tropical diseases.
"It is unfair that there are millions of people around the world who are unable to access strong and resilient health systems, just because of where they were born," says Ms Reikan.
A key priority is the eradication of yaws – an infectious disease that largely affects some of Ghana's poorest people. Despite having simple, cheap and effective treatment, yaws remains a persistent problem in many communities. Yoko works alongside the ADP core partner, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Neglected Tropical diseases (TDR), to help with organization of a community-based mass drug administration initiative aimed at ending yaws for good.
She also supports an innovative initiative that uses digital technologies to improve the safety of health products used in the country.
Ms Yoshimura is a Programme Specialist at the HIV, Health and Development Group at UNDP in New York. In this brief summary, she explains how established gender roles affect people's vulnerability to various neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). She also outlines why understanding how sex and gender intersect with social determinants of health – such as poverty, education and livelihoods – is critical to ensuring that no one is left behind in the fight against NTDs.
Through her role in the Access and Delivery Partnership (ADP), Ms Yoshimura has played a key role in gathering current evidence about how gender impacts NTD risk and outcomes, epidemiology and prevalence. She has also helped to develop and propose a set of specific recommendations for action as part of a collaborative, multisectoral approach to addressing this challenge.
"NTD programmes need to meet the needs of all genders," Ms Yoshimura concludes. "Health is a fundamental right for every human being."
For more info, see: Discussion paper: The gender dimensions of neglected tropical diseases
As a Policy Specialist with UNDP in its Bangkok Regional Hub, Kazuyuki Uji has spent almost 20 years focused on the health issues faced by developing countries, including malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases.
"Even when new medicines for diseases of poverty are developed," he argues, "many developing countries are not able to introduce and deliver them effectively due to gaps in legal environments, supply chains and safety monitoring systems".
Through his work with the Access and Delivery Partnership (ADP) Kazuyuki has helped support programmes aimed at strengthening health systems to respond to these challenges, and ultimately to driving more equitable, sustainable and universal health coverage in countries.