« All alone we go faster, but together we go farther. » African proverb
Winds of Hope and the International NoNoma Federation jointly decided to organize the first world day to combat noma The « Noma Day » on Thursday 22 May 2008.
This World Day was held in Geneva under the patronage of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and was presided over by Bertrand Piccard, President of Winds of Hope. It was organized in association with the World Health Organization and its Regional Office for Africa and with the cooperation of the International Dental Federation.
The date of 22 May was chosen to coincide and in collaboration with the WHO General Assembly, to enable the ministers of health of the African countries concerned to participate and represent their country in the official part of the proceedings.
The Noma Day committee of honour included personalities such as :
The objectives of Noma Day were to put the spotlight on noma, a little-known scourge, by :
The conference, organized at the International Conference Center in Geneva (CICG), comprised: scientific lectures by renowned researchers; informative sessions open to the public; a youth forum; various presentations on the activities of humanitarian organizations; and exhibitions of photos and films.
To learn more, see the program for the day
This scientific forum, which brought together the world’s leading experts (scientists, doctors, renowned and experienced surgeons from Europe and Africa, WHO representatives, and health professionals), provided an opportunity to assess current knowledge about the causes, distribution, and treatment strategies for this complex pathology.
The scientific committee was chaired by Professor Denys Montandon, an eminent specialist in plastic and reconstructive surgery. The main topics addressed during the meeting were :
Composition of the scientific committee :
|President:||Prof Denys Montandon||University of Geneva / CH|
|Vice-presidents:||Dr.Conrod Burton||Internat. Dental Federation / CH|
|Prof.Cyril O.Enwonwu||University of Maryland / USA|
|Secretaries:||Dr.Denise Baratti-Mayer||University of Geneva / CH|
|Prof. Charlotte Faty Ndiaye||World Health Organization (WHO) / Afro|
|Members:||Prof Mapfumo Midion Chidzonga||University of Zimbabwe|
|Prof Kampadilemba Ouoba||University of Burkina Faso|
|Dr Klaas W. Marck||Dutch Noma Foundation|
|Prof. Poul-Erik Petersen||University of Geneva / CH|
|Prof. Brigitte Pittet||University of Geneva / CH|
|Prof. Didier Pittet||University of Geneva / CH|
|Prof. Jacques Schrenzel||University of Geneva / CH|
In order to set noma in its village context, where the work of the NGOs takes on its full reality and human dimension, a model African village was chosen as the centre-piece for communication and information. The associations affiliated to the NoNoma Federation had information stands there focusing on the following topics:
Photographic reports and films produced by associations working in the field enabled the general public to find out about the numerous activities already under way, and to familiarize themselves with the tasks of prevention, medical care and social reintegration.
Talks for the general public in layman’s language allowed specialists to pass on their experience and knowledge about noma in areas such as prevention, treatment, social care and research.
This day provided an excellent opportunity for humanitarian organizations to present their work in the field, to share their practical experience and to develop relationships leading to the creation of synergies.
It also made it possible to define better what support NGOs could give at country level and to identify the constituent elements for a joint plan of action between NGOs and national program managers.
Teachers and their students were invited to participate in the day, attend lectures and visit the exhibitions in order to become more aware of the consequences of malnutrition and poor hygiene in poor countries.
They were able to visit the village, find out about the campaigns and projects of many humanitarian organizations, and browse through films and photographic records depicting the tasks of prevention, medical care and social reintegration..
A forum was devoted to teenagers eager to learn more, who were able to listen to personal testimonies and fire question at two young people from Burkina Faso who had been victims of noma but had been successfully reintegrated into society.
Following the example of the World Health Assembly, the young people also put forward recommendations for what might be included in a formal resolution for the elimination of noma. This resolution then constituted the conclusion of the Youth Forum.
Ahead of Noma Day, teachers had been given a file of educational material, so that they had all the information they needed to prepare their students for a visit to this first world noma gathering. The suggestion had also been made to teachers that they might want to take advantage of this opportunity to design a series of lessons on the North-South economic divide and the effects of poverty on a large part of humanity.
A large-scale information campaign was conducted to urge support for the elimination of noma.
The media, once informed and mobilized, raised awareness in the international community and public opinion about the existence and harsh reality of noma.
As part of this World Noma Day, a press conference was organized with Bertrand Piccard present.
React …then act! At the end of the day, the Winds of Hope Foundation organized a gala evening to close the awareness-raising campaign for this neglected disease and to raise funds for field campaigns to combat noma.
Since 1999, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones have been trying to use the fallout from their round-the-world balloon flight to combat this little-known scourge of noma. Organizing this Noma Day and gala evening was part of the logic and continuity of this campaign.
The Noma Gala Evening included silent auctions and many emotional moments.
This event raised almost a million Swiss francs for the fight against noma, thanks to commitments made by partners (27%), the donations raised (11%), dinner receipts (46%) and the Auction (16%).
Starting at the end of 2008, several associations of the NoNoma Federation were therefore able to obtain funding needed for numerous projects in sub-Saharan Africa :
Thanks to the partners who funded the organization of the day and the evening entirely, Winds of Hope was able to ensure that all Noma Day donations and receipts could be allocated to humanitarian action and used to finance field campaigns in Africa.
The following companies joined the cause by making significant donations :
The following companies joined the cause by contributing in the form of preferential rates in their respective business sectors, and we take this opportunity to thank them :