END7 just surpassed the $1,000,000 mark in funds raised to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), with more than 25,000 donations since the launch of the campaign. These contributions support efforts by national ministries of health to build sustainable NTD programs based within endemic countries.
Projects funded by END7 have given the gift of good health to millions of people in twelve countries, training local health workers and volunteers, transporting and administering donated medicines, providing clean water and educating communities on safe hygiene habits to avoid infection. END7 is a campaign of the Sabin Vaccine Institute to end the seven most common NTDs. Sabin’s mission is to end unnecessary suffering from preventable diseases. 100 percent of END7 donations go directly to partners in endemic countries to extend NTD programs and fill funding gaps.
Your donations helped Myanmar could continue to grow, learn and reach their full potential.
Reaching one million dollars is an incredible milestone, but our work isn’t finished yet. More than one billion people still suffer from the seven most common NTDs even though these diseases are preventable with treatment, education and sanitation. Elephantiasis, river blindness, schistosomiasis, trachoma, roundworm, whipworm and hookworm prevent communities from thriving. We can break this cycle of poverty – but not without you. We need your continued support if we are to see the end of NTDs.
A Sightsavers’ project in Nigeria has been awarded a grant of $50,000 from the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s END7 campaign to help tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This generous grant will have a significant impact on the future of communities in Kebbi State in Nigeria and will enable Sightsavers to get one step closer to eliminating five NTDs in the state.
NTDs can have a horrifying effect on people of all ages. Symptoms of these devastating diseases include kidney disease, blindness, malnutrition, anaemia, and even death. NTDs can stop people from working, living independently, or even from getting an education. Many of these symptoms can be alleviated through treatment and stronger health systems.
Sabin Vaccine Institute and has mobilized a diverse and growing community of supporters from countries around the world dedicated to supporting the fight against these diseases.
Sightsavers’ Kebbi State NTD elimination program is targeting the elimination of five devastating NTDs including schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, trachoma, river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. With END7’s support, Sightsavers is working with the Federal and Kebbi State Ministries of Health to train more than 1,000 primary health workers and more than 7,000 community volunteers to undertake mass drug administration (MDA) that will help protect nearly 6 million people in some of Nigeria’s poorest rural communities.
END7’s funding will also support the training of 355 teachers to manage school-based MDA to protect children from schistosomiasis. Sightsavers is collaborating with the Kebbi State Ministry of Education to prepare schools and teachers to get treatment to all enrolled school children. This work is already beginning to impact Nigerians, including Manir Mamuda, a 15 year old boy who lives with his parents in the region. Manir is training to become a carpenter, but for the past year Manir was suffering from the symptoms of schistosomiasis. Despite seeking help from a traditional healer in his community, his symptoms were not improving.
Luckily, Manir heard about the free treatment being distributed at his local school during a community awareness event. He decided to visit the school while treatment was being distributed and received treatment he needed.
“I was measured with a tape and given 4 tablets of the drug, which I took immediately,” said Manir. “After one week, I stopped seeing blood in my urine. The medicine is good because it has helped me and I am happy. I hope to continue to take it. I feel very well now and can comfortably learn the carpentry skills I need to earn a living”
Sightsavers’ Nigeria Country Director, Sunday Isiyaku has also seen the positive impact of these services in communities across the country. “Thanks to Sabin’s END7 campaign in 2016, we are able to protect the most vulnerable communities in Kebbi state from these painful and disabling diseases. The project will reach people that usually cannot find their way to health centers to access health services including women, the elderly and people with disabilities. By using community outreach and door-to-door approaches, our health workers and community volunteers are going the extra mile in reaching these groups.”
“Sabin has a proud history of vaccine advocacy, and we are pleased that we can further this mission through our recent grant to Sightsavers in Nigeria,” said Amy Finan, CEO of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “In a region where more than 5 million people are at risk of contracting an NTD, Sabin’s grant will enable Sightsavers to fill a gap in the current health system by providing efficient, cost-effective control efforts. This project has the potential to improve quality of life for millions of Nigerians, and I look forward to following its impact in the months and years ahead.”
The recent grant awarded to Sightsavers by the Sabin Vaccine Institute will enable vital NTD control efforts to continue in the state of Kebbi. By promoting sustainable health systems in the region, Nigerians living in Kebbi and beyond will be able to live without the burden of these debilitating diseases.
This post was originally published on Sightsaversusa.org.
Students from around the world wrote essays as part of their application for leadership positions with END7 for the upcoming academic year. Two students were awarded scholarships to attend the
By Gerald Oyeki Makere University (Kampala, Uganda)
Nelson Mandela, one of Africa’s greatest statesmen quoted, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ Students and young people constitute the most significant medium of change, transformation and generational growth, given that they are sources of energy, charisma and fountains of knowledge and innovation. Thus, their contribution in addressing global crises plays a pivotal role.
END7 is an international advocacy campaign that seeks to raise the awareness and funding necessary to control and eliminate the seven most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which are a group of chronic and debilitating conditions, caused by parasitic and bacterial infections, by 2020. These diseases include elephantiasis, river blindness, snail fever, trachoma, roundworm and hookworm. They are mainly poverty-driven and are most prevalent in the poorest populations in the world in Asia, Latin America and Africa, with women and children who live in unsanitary environments facing the biggest threats. Such areas have little access to clean water or proper ways to dispose of human waste which are predisposing factors for the occurrence of these diseases. Neglected tropical diseases impair physical and cognitive development, contribute to maternal and child illness and death, and make it difficult to farm or earn a living – thus, the drive to end extreme poverty may not yield fruit if they are not dealt with.
According to the United Nations Human Development Report 2007/2008, Sub-Saharan Africa faces a serious threat for the occurrence and spread of NTDs and thus the urgency for action cannot be ignored. This has led to several integrated efforts to combat the diseases including mass sensitization and education, improvement of basic water, sanitation and hygiene, and mass drug administration as strategies pursued by various stakeholders, policy makers, implementers, funders and the society at large. For instance, in Uganda, the “One Health” concept appreciates and acknowledges that animal health, human health and the environment are a united system that cannot be independent of each other, and that the wellbeing of humans has got a significant dependence on the health of animals and the environment. This has facilitated the fight against zoonotic diseases, like rabies and soil-transmitted helminthes. Programs like the USAID NTD program, the Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity and College of Health Sciences, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Industry and Fisheries have taken lead roles in the fight against these diseases to support Uganda’s goal of eliminating lymphatic filariasis and blinding trachoma by 2020.
However, the fight to end NTDs is still yet to be accomplished with a number of challenges like low awareness of these diseases, low education levels, and financial constraints for treatment programs. To address these challenges, engaging young people will be key. According to the 2014 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) ‘State of the world’ report, Sub-Saharan African countries have a disproportionally large youth cohort. In fifteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa, half the population is under age 18. UNFPA’s review of youth-related policies in these countries suggest that the vast majority have committed to investments in youth-related initiatives and recognize their importance. Students and the youth population are in a strong position to create awareness NTDs and how they can be treated and prevented, actively participate in mass drug administration campaigns, influence government policy and priorities towards funding and fighting NTDs through advocacy led by student clubs and associations. One example of a group that could lead this effort is the One Health Students Club at Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, for which I serve as speaker emeritus. Our group carries out mass vaccination of animals, most commonly dogs, against zoonotic diseases like rabies (an NTD). The Acholi Students Union, for which I’m currently speaker, engages in mass sensitization of the Acholi ethnic group through radio talk shows, school visits and community outreach, which could be directed towards NTD education. Students can also engage in fundraising drives to boost resources for the fight against NTDs. Furthermore, students can advance NTD research at their universities.
The Millennium Campus Conference is a rich platform for me to use my oratory and leadership skills to interact with peers involved in international development, share knowledge, and convince student leaders from other parts of the world, of all different backgrounds – from both low, middle, and high income countries – of the urgency to eliminate NTDs, and how an integrated global youth approach could help accomplish this goal.
By Ishmael I. T. Jalloh END7 Campus Leaders Council Representative, University of Sierra Leone
Ishmael I. T. Jalloh is a pharmacy student at the University of Sierra Leone (USL) College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences. He launched an END7 chapter at his school last fall and with his peers launched additional chapters at USL Institute of Public Administration and Management and Fourah Bay College, creating a growing movement of students and young people committed to seeing the end of NTDs in
In May, these students embarked on an 11-day social mobilization and campus engagement campaign to raise awareness about a major mass drug administration (MDA) campaign to prevent lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis). Through visits to local schools and colleges, media outreach, and creative communication, the students encouraged everyone in their community to participate in the MDA – and even helped with drug distribution in some areas.
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is caused by infection with one of three species of filarial nematode (Wuchereria bancroft i, Brugia malayi or B. timori) that are transmitted by mosquitoes. Adult worms live almost exclusively in humans and lodge in the lymphatic system. Repeated mosquito bites over several months to years are needed to become infected with LF. The infection commonly acquired during childhood but usually manifests during adulthood as hydrocele, lymphoedema and elephantiasis.
All the districts in Sierra Leone are endemic for LF ( >1% prevalence), and it is a leading cause of permanent disability in the country. Communities frequently shun and reject women and men disfigured by the disease. Affected people frequently are unable to work because of their disability, and this harms their families and their communities.
To combat LF, preventive chemotherapy through mass drug administration (MDA) of ivermectin and albendazole started in 2008 in western rural Sierra Leone, but was interrupted in 2014 due to the Ebola outbreak. MDA was restarted in October 2015 and continued in May 2016.
END7 is an international advocacy campaign of the Sabin Vaccine Institute with student chapters active around the world. In May of 2016, END7 student supporters at the University of Sierra Leone (USL) led an 11-day campaign to raise awareness and educate students about the LF MDA in Western Area, Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The objectives of the social mobilization and campus engagement campaign were to:
- Increase public awareness of the MDA
- Educate heads of colleges and students on the importance of MDA
- Educate heads of colleges and students about the drugs being distributed (ivermectin and albendazole)
- Advocate to District Health Management Team so that community health workers would be sure to take these drugs to the colleges
- Encourage heads of colleges and students to take these drugs
The social mobilization and awareness raising targeted people in authority and the most influential people in the colleges and campuses: heads of colleges, deans of faculties, administrative assistants, wardens of Colleges, Student Union presidents, and leaders of Christian organization, Muslim organization and other recognized organizations in the colleges. By targeting these leaders, we hoped to encourage them to use their influence to encourage many more people to participate in the MDA.
The awareness raising and campus engagement campaign started on the May 20 and ran until May 31. In that time, the END7 USL team of student leaders visited eight colleges in Freetown. We started at the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, Congo Cross campus. The END7 USL team met with the student governor, Dean of Campus, Mr. Umaru Bah and students in various classes of the college to educate students about LF and the importance of the MDA.
Next, at Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, Goderich, the END7 USL team met with the student Union President Bilal Afiz Kabba, Ag. Registrar of the college, Mr. Sherifu Bangura, the Vice-Principal of the College, Dr. Tabita, and students gathered at the college hall. END7 students raised awareness and educated the students about the MDA. The END7 team also advocated to the Vice-Principal to include NTDs in the college curriculum.
At Liccsal Business College, the END7 USL team met with the Vice-Principal Dr. Roland Buck, the Assistant Director of student’s affairs, Ibrahim Bangura, and Mr. Benjamin Lebbie, as well as many students of the college.
Then, the END7 team visited the Wilberforce Community Health Center to encourage community health workers based there to treat the students in the surrounding colleges during the MDA. We wanted to make sure that all of our peers would have the chance to receive the drugs they need to stay safe and healthy.
Next, at Freetown Teachers College, the END7 team met with the Registrar, M.I. Sesay, and met with students at the college hall to raise awareness and educate them about the MDA and elephantiasis. At Njala University Freetown, END7 students met with the Deputy Registrar, Christiana Pearce, and visited students in their classes.
At the University of Sierra Leone College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, after raising awareness about the MDA, END7 student leaders actually assisted in the distribution of the drugs on campus, working with the pharmacy board team to distribute the drugs to administrative staff at the college.
When we visited the University of Sierra Leone Institute of Public Administration and Management, they were in the middle of their examination period, which made it more difficult to reach students with our message. So, we spoke to administrative staff and students who were around on campus. Then, we traveled to Parliament Hospital to advocate for the MDA team there to visit the IPAM campus clinic. We succeeded in bringing the MDA team to treat students at IPAM, but unfortunately, when they arrived on campus, students were not around because of the examination period.
Fourah Bay College was also in the middle of an examination period when our team visited campus, so we made use of the public address system at the nearby airport terminal that was playing the message of the MDA, and met with some administrative staff and students in their classrooms.
In addition to our campus visits, END7 USL was also involved in media outreach to promote the MDA. As president of END7 USL, I was interviewed on a program on Star Television Network to raise awareness of LF and educate Sierra Leoneans about the MDA.
The END7 USL team faced a few challenges during the social mobilization campaign, as this was the first time we planned activities to support an MDA. One of our greatest challenge was advocating to community health workers to take drugs to the colleges so university students could participate in the MDA. Eighty percent of the colleges we visited were treated during the MDA, but this still leaves many students without access to treatment. We will continue our activities to raise awareness of these important public health campaigns, encourage our peers and fellow community members to participate, and advocate to make sure everyone has the chance to be part of MDA campaigns so Sierra Leone can end NTDs for good.
We want to offer special thanks to Hellen Keller International, Sierra Leone for providing the funding and support for us to carry out our social mobilization and campus engagement activities, and a big thank you to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation District Health Management Team for a successful MDA!
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