One-in-six people worldwide suffer for a series of illnesses known as Neglected Tropical Diseases, or NTDs. Primarily parasitic and bacterial diseases, they can cause symptoms like swollen limbs, known as lymphatic filariasis or elephantiasis, or even blindness, like with trachoma. The irony of these NTDs is that they are easily treated, and pharmaceutical companies are even willing to donate the medicine needed. The main obstacle is paying to ship treatment to the very poor and sometimes remote areas affected.
END7, a campaign run by the Sabin Vaccine Institute, however, aims to eradicate seven of these NTDs by 2020 through advocacy and getting treatment to these affected areas. Since it was founded in 2012, END7 has created "NTD Awareness Week," which plans events around the country to spread the word and raise money. It has also partnered with celebrities like Eddie Redmayne and Emily Blunt, and even caught the attention of Pope Francis, who made NTDs the focus of this year's Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers International Conference.
A main goal of their campaign is awareness for the diseases, which is why they've founded numerous college affiliates on campuses across the country–recently including USC. Sophomore Deepshika Verma recently started a chapter on campus after attending a seminar on NTDs by END7.
From Where We Are Producer Alana Bracken spoke with Verma and Emily Conron, a Resource Development Officer at the Sabin Vaccine Institute, about the campaign, and why advocacy for NTDs is immediately necessary.
Contact From Where We Are Producer Alana Bracken here.