END7, an international advocacy campaign, aims to end seven neglected tropical diseases (NTDS) by 2020. It is currently raising awareness of the seven most common NTDs, and the easy and cheap resources available to eliminate them.
Cheap is not an understatement — it takes only 50 cents to treat and protect one person against all seven NTDS.
While 2020 may seem like an overly optimistic date to have eliminated seven diseases, treatments for all NTDs exist — it’s just a matter of getting them to those in need. The seven diseases include Hookworm, Roundworm, Whipworm, Elephantiasis, Trachoma, River Blindness and Snail Fever.
Nearly one in six people worldwide, including over half a billion children, have these diseases living and breeding inside their bodies. The effects of these diseases can be devastating, causing blindness, massive swelling in limbs, severe malnutrition, pregnancy complications and anemia.
Apart from the horrific effects of NTDs, these diseases makes it increasingly difficult for affected families to lift themselves out of poverty. They prevent children from going to school.
In order to spread the word about their cause and the work being done to help victims of NTDs, END7 utilizes social media outlets, hoping to target young activists who will then share the word with others. The goal is to get the general public involved, not just doctors and health care professionals.
The campaign asks the community to donate to NTD prevention and treatment programs. These programs deliver the medications to schools and poor communities all over the globe.
How can it be so cheap? Drugs to treat NTDS are donated by pharmaceutical companies, allowing for the remaining cost to come only in distributing the drugs to those in need.
Bill Nighy, who provides a voice for many of the END7 videos, describes his astonishment in the opportunity at hand, stating, “I’m shocked by how much devastation these diseases cause. But what shocks me more is how simple the solution is.”
If pocket change can provide a cure for seven diseases, it seems that a cure in 2020 may not seem so far out of reach after all.
— Caroline Logan
Sources: END7, TwitChange