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
Photo: Northeastern

How To Shock A CelebrityAs Richard Hatzfeld writes on Impatient Optimists, breaking through the clutter of global health propaganda is “like asking someone to pick out the sound of a pin drop in a room full of tambourine-clanging kindergartners.”

The pin dropping in this scenario is End7, a nonprofit organization on a mission to end seven Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD’s) by 2020. Earlier this year, End7 released a new video that begins with international celebrities reacting to the visual horror of NTD’s.

Let’s talk about what NTD’s are first. NTD’s, which affect 1 in 6 people worldwide, prevent children from going to school. They prevent parents from going to work and supporting their families. These diseases push impoverished communities deeper into poverty.

NTD’s comprise of diseases such as:

– Schistosomiasis, also known as Snail Fever, the 2nd leading parasitic killer after malaria

– Lymphatic Philariasis (elephantiasis), the massive swelling of limbs and genitals

– Trachoma, an infectious leading cause of blindness, characterized by white lumps in the upper eyelid and eyelashes curling inward

Not to mention river blindness, roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm – End7 promises that all 100% of donations will be given to treatment programs for these diseases.

This isn’t a mainstream health issue. The U.S. hardly even recognizes this as a health issue due to lack of public awareness and thus, its absence from top health policy discussions.  Upon recognizing this, the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases launched the End7 campaign and promptly took its first step to mass public awareness – by showing the video to international celebrities, like Emily Blunt, Priyanka Chopra, & Tom Felton. Reflecting its inherent effect, the video’s name became “How to Shock a Celebrity.”

End7’s video campaign bluntly highlights the underrated power of sight. Look, it tells us. These diseases are real. They’re terror inducing, and they exist halfway around the world from your neighborhood. What you’re feeling is clearly a normal reaction. Do something about it.

Do what? Watch the video. Share it. Become part of the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Show it to your friends, your family, your co-worker who also eats lunch at her desk.

Maybe even show it to a celebrity.

– Shraddha Anandpara

Source: Impatient Optimists