When we think about diseases in Africa we think about the biggest of them – malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. We forget about the neglected tropical diseases that debilitate so many in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia from intestinal worms to elephantiasis. These diseases are real and they are easily prevented, but as their name suggests, these diseases are nearly neglected. In fact, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis G Sambo, called for increased funding last month to eradicate and control neglected tropical diseases by 2020 in Africa.
There has been notable progress is controlling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). For example, all sub-Saharan countries save for Chad, Mali, Sudan and Ethiopia, have eradicated guinea worm. However there is still much work to do in order to wipe out the seven most common neglected tropical diseases.
The international NGO, End 7, is committed to seeing an end to neglected tropical diseases by 2020, but they need the help of the global public. A mere $.50 can protect one person for a full year from the seven most common NTDs. End7 has put together this telling video that shows the real face of neglected tropical disease. A young girl hasn’t grown properly and is perpetually legargic because of intestinal worms and her grandmother can no longer work because of elephantiasis.
Neglected tropical diseases keep the world’s poorest people in a constant cycle of poverty. These diseases – caused mainly by insects and parasites – keep productivity low. Sometimes entire communities are stricken by one or more of these diseases because they do not understand measure by which these diseases can be prevented and/or do not have the proper medications to keep these diseases at bay.