Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – The web site for Noma Day, 22 May, makes it clear there is nothing fair about this disease: it is preventable but it strikes very young children, mainly in very poor areas in Africa and it disfigures them, often dramatically, making already difficult lives even harder.
The first annual Noma Day takes place today, with a conference in Geneva aiming to draw attention to the disease, in part to help raise funds for education, prevention and treatment.
Noma falls through the cracks of the health system, says the Winds of Hope Foundation in Lausanne, which organized Noma Day. As a non-communicable disease it has no priority status and as a result of poverty, poor hygiene and malnutrition it is not a disease looking for a medical cure or miracle.
It requires better living conditions, greater awareness and available treatment, all of which can be delivered with adequate funding.
Noma strikes 100,000 very young children every year, mainly in the poorest regions of Asia, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Only 20% of the children survive the disease and these are often terribly disfigured, with holes in their faces.
Noma begins as a gingivitis that turns into necrotizing ulcerative tissue or an undetected edema in the cheek. The infection develops rapidly, in a few days before becoming irreversible due to weakening natural defenses.
During those few days, common antibiotics are sufficient to halt the disease’s progress, but funds are few and understanding of the need, by parents, is poor.
Bertrand Piccard, a medical doctor and adventurer most recently in the news for his Solar Impulse simulated flights, is president of the Winds of Hope Foundation, based in Lausanne and Kofi Annan is serving as patron of Noma Day.
Donations can be made to:
IBAN: CH42 0900 0000 1751 3550 9
Ref: Noma Day
From Winds of Hope Foundation: “Noma Day is fully funded by our sponsors which enables us to guarantee that 100% of donations will be used for humanitarian actions in the field.”
International No-Noma Federation
c/o Winds of Hope Foundation
20, avenue Florimont
Tél +41 21 320 77 22