When I arrived at Escuela Pedro Nufio, a school in Choluteca, Honduras, I saw hundreds of healthy kids eagerly raising their hands in class, laughing with their teachers and playing outside with their friends.
These kids were happy and healthy thanks to Honduras’ commitment to end neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) – an effort supported by Honduras’ Ministries of Health and Education, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Food Program, several NGOs, and last but not least, hundreds of END7 supporters who made generous donations on behalf of the 2.5 million children suffering from NTDs in Honduras.
In 2012, Honduras became the first country in Latin America to launch a national plan to control and eliminate NTDs. Since then, the country has scaled up its national deworming campaign, and this past year, 1,051,659 children in 11,576 schools were treated for NTDs.
But Honduras’ deworming campaign is about more than just NTD treatment. Access to clean water and sanitation, and NTD education and prevention are also important parts of the country’s integrated program. To answer this need, END7 supporters provided clean water to 100,461 people by purchasing and installing water treatment equipment in the municipalities of Marcovia and El Triunfo. END7 donors also funded the training of school children, teachers, and communities on parasitic worms and the importance of hand washing.
After traveling to Honduras, I felt more optimistic than ever that we CAN control and eliminate NTDs. Honduras is making incredible strides against these diseases – and the health workers and teachers I met there are extremely passionate and committed to ending the suffering of their people.
To reach their end goal, Honduras is moving forward with eight department level operational plans and the training of personnel from each department on NTD control-related activities. However, Honduras still needs support to close their funding gap and reach all children at risk for NTDs.
The kids I met in Choluteca need to be treated annually to remain free of NTDs. Donate today to make sure these kids continue to smile, succeed in school and lie healthy lives.