Burundi is small, heavily populated, landlocked country in East Africa. It is one of the poorest countries in the world and home to several debilitating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This however, is changing as the future for Burundi is looking hopeful.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of chronic disabling infections affecting more than 1 billion people worldwide, or one-sixth of the world’s population. These diseases affect the world’s most vulnerable populations, and ultimately contribute to an ongoing cycle of poverty and stigma that leaves people unable to work, go to school or participate in community life.
In 2007, the Legatum Foundation, an international private investment organization that promotes sustainable development throughout the world agreed to fund the treatment of NTDs in Burundi and brought together several partners to assist Burundi’s Ministry of Health. Christian Blind Mission, Geneva Global, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, and our organization, Global Network came together to provide technical guidance for Burundi’s National NTD Control Program. Pharmaceutical manufacturers such as GlaxoSmithKline, provided the drug donations.
It has been over five years since the Burundi NTD Control Plan was implemented, and its success is visible throughout the country. Recently, the Global Network launched the, “A better Future for Burundi” video, which highlights all the accomplishments in controlling NTDs in Burundi. “I can see a real, positive change since distribution began” said Georgette, a local volunteer community health worker. Leonard Madina, a local Village Chief in Rutana agreed, “Thanks to the medicine, the community is back to work, and we are moving forward.”Such commitment to eliminating NTDs is creating great opportunity for increased development not only in Burundi, but for all of Africa.
Check out the video here.
Learn more about how you can help in the fight against NTDs here.