Category Archives: END7

Blog Action Day: Standing up for the World’s Poor

 

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END7 is participating in Blog Action Day on October 16th — a day for thousands of bloggers to come together to talk about inequality. 

Most people living in the United States and other high-income countries have never heard of diseases like elephantiasisriver blindnesssnail fevertrachomaroundworm, whipworm or hookworm. But nearly one in six people globally, including more than half a billion children, have these diseases – known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Without treatment, NTDs can lead to lifelong disabilities and suffering. Because NTDs largely affect the world’s most vulnerable communities, those already affected by extreme poverty, they are notorious for perpetuating inequality.

Yet ending NTDs is an achievable and realistic goal. All it takes is 50 cents per person per year to treat and protect someone from all seven of the most common NTDs. And with regular treatment, NTDs can be controlled and eliminated for good.

NTDs have devastating consequences for the world’s poorest people. They can lead to malnutrition and stunting, blindness, disfiguration, cognitive delays, lost productivity, poor maternal and child health and social stigmatization.

The links between NTDs and inequality are well documented. For example, an article published in PLOS NTDs revealed that Indonesia’s high prevalence of NTDs could perpetuate inequality within the country, despite its surging economy. NTDs make it hard for parents to make a living, and for children to attend school. These diseases drastically weaken a person’s health and cause unnecessary suffering.

When children and parents become infected with one or more NTD, their potential is diminished; five-year-old Neema was unable to attend school because of intestinal worms – a type of NTD. And Sahr Gando, a father in Sierra Leone, could no longer work and provide for his family when he became infected with schistosomiasis, a painful NTD that can lead to death.

Countries like Colombia and Ecuador have already eliminated the NTD onchocerciasis. And countless other countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America are well on their way to ending needless suffering caused by NTDs.

By defeating NTDs, we can ensure that the world’s poor have an equal chance. At the basic level, everyone should have adequate nutrition, the opportunity to be educated and the right to prosper and contribute to society. Yet NTDs rob the billion and a half people living in poverty of these basic opportunities and undermine other development efforts. If we wish to end inequality, we must end NTDs. If we wish to address some of the world’s greatest challenges like world hunger, AIDS, poverty and needless suffering, we must end NTDs.

But in order to end NTDs and achieve greater health equity, we must continue to raise awareness and advocate for the control and elimination of these diseases. Ending NTDs must be a priority within the global development agenda and among world leaders. Countries like the United States and the United Kingdom must remain committed, and even increase their commitments, to supporting NTD-endemic countries in their fight against NTDs. Most of all, we cannot remain quiet and take a back seat as more than half a million children continue to suffer from preventable diseases. Stand up against inequality today by pledging to end NTDs.

VlogBrother John Green Captures Trip to Ethiopia through Video Blogs

 

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By Angad Dhindsa and Emily Conron

This summer John Green, the author of A Fault in Our Stars and one half of the video-blogging VlogBrothers, took a trip to Ethiopia with Bill Gates. Despite John’s admitted fear of mosquito-borne illness, he enthusiastically traveled to East Africa to witness the region’s dramatic improvements in health care and reduced infant mortality. In addition, John was able to learn how he – as a video blogger and public figure – could improve the health of poor communities in the region.

Throughout his trip, John captured a series of video blogs to share with his devoted followers – referred to as “Nerdfighters.” John mentions that in contrast to the United States, poor communities in Ethiopia lack access to social media, YouTube and other mediums often used to connect with others far away and amplify important messages.

To cap off the trip John started a fundraising campaign with water.org for Ethiopia to continue developing sustainable water solutions. Bill Gates decided this was a great idea and agreed to match $100,000 of donations if they were raised.

For more on John Green’s trip, read some of his quotes and watch his videos below:


John: “Hank, I’ve found humans to be extraordinarily generous within their social networks, like think of how quickly we support friends and colleagues in need. But lack of access to like, Tumblr and YouTube makes most people living in absolute poverty totally voiceless in our online world, and inevitably we begin to imagine their problems as others, as things that don’t happen to us.”


John: “But this brings up an interesting problem, which is that the internet in Ethiopia is CRAZY SLOW. [Dial-up modem noise plays] I mean, like, yes, that slow. That makes it hard to watch a lot of creators, it makes it hard to comment; it also takes forever for Tumblr to load. And we talked about how that makes it hard to be an active participant in online communities. Almost all of their social media interaction happens with people they know in real life. To which I said, “What is real life??””


John: “But it was also hard to watch, it’s hard to see kids suffer, and mothers worry, and to feel powerless before it, and it’s hard because these are problems that I was unaccustomed to, I mean the poor are voiceless in too much of our contemporary discourse. This kid’s mom doesn’t have a Twitter or a Youtube channel. And so we don’t hear about her challenges as directly as we hear about others. Maybe that’s part of what makes it easier to look away too, but regardless, I kept doing it; I have hours of footage of my camera looking away.”

Clearly, the VlogBrothers have a fresh take on the challenges of international development after this trip and a unique platform with which to share their new insights. Their “Nerdfighter” community is famous for their generosity – and creativity – in responding to social problems, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for a variety of causes through their annual Project for Awesome, a YouTube crowdfunding campaign where members of the Nerdfighter community compete with creative videos advocating for different charities to win part of a pot of money raised by the community. This year, END7 will be encouraging our growing community of student supporters to create videos for the contest in the hopes of both raising money for NTD treatment programs around the world and raising awareness of NTDs among a new audience. We’re excited to see what the VlogBrothers think of next!

Introducing Lydia Silber, September’s END7 Student of the Month

 

Lydia_END7Each month, END7 honors one student who has made a significant contribution to our growing movement of student advocates dedicated to seeing the end of NTDs. We are very proud to introduce our September Student of the Month, Lydia Silber, a senior at Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest, Illinois. Lydia, who learned about END7 after her sister attended a presentation at Boston University, shares:

“In April, my sister showed me a disturbing YouTube video that said that roughly one out of every six people are infected with a neglected tropical disease (NTDs), and that all it took was $0.50 to treat one person for a whole year. Within weeks, I began fundraising for NTD treatment, and all throughout the summer, I was outside of restaurants and coffee shops raising money for END7. I sold bracelets and held pizza sales for a few weeks too. Though raising money was a huge part of this, to me raising awareness was even more important. I just wanted to supply as many people as I could find with access to information about NTD’s and insight into how treatable they are. I wear my bracelet every day, and each time I look at it, I am reminded that a lot of work still needs to be done for END7. I hope that all of the people that wear their bracelets think the same, and continue to spread the word. If my hopes are a reality, then I am confident that we will see the end of all seven of those NTDs by 2020.”

In all, Lydia raised an incredible $800 for END7 to support NTD treatment programs around the world. Her involvement is a great example of the power of people spreading the word about NTDs and END7 to their friends, family and community, and we are so grateful for her hard work!

We are are excited to see our community of student supporters like Lydia continue to grow. If you are ready to get your school involved in END7’s work, contact student coordinator Emily on Facebook or at Emily.Conron@sabin.org to learn how you can get started!

END7 Supports Strengthening and Scaling-Up of Deworming Campaigns in Peru

 

Peruvian health workers are helping end the burden of NTDs in Peru. Photo by INMED Andes

Peruvian health workers are helping control and eliminate NTDs. Photo by INPPACE 

Approximately 3.5 million children are at risk for intestinal worms – including hookworm, whipworm and roundworm – in Peru. Even though Peru has experienced significant economic growth over the past decade, a large portion of its population continues to live in poverty, with four out of ten families still lacking access to clean water. Environments like these promote the transmission of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like intestinal worms which can lead to malnutrition and anemia among children.

To address Peru’s NTD burden, the nonprofit organization INMED Partnerships for Children is working in collaboration with regional governments and regional departments of health and education to carry out deworming campaigns to address the burden of intestinal worms in particular. With support from the Global Network’s END7 campaign, INMED recently launched a study to evaluate the impact of these deworming campaigns on addressing intestinal worm infections and the nutritional status of children in Peru’s Ucayali Region. INMED is collaborating with the Peruvian Institute for Clinical and Experimental Parasitology to complete the study.

health workers are trained to measure the height & weight of children. Photo by INMED

Health workers are trained to measure the height & weight of children. Photo by INMED

The study will provide important insights on how to improve the effectiveness of deworming campaigns and will inform the scale up of deworming campaigns across Peru. Peru’s Ministry of Health has called for semiannual national deworming days and with the support of INMED and Johnson & Johnson, Peru will launch a nationwide campaign to treat millions of children living in NTD-endemic areas of Peru at the end of this year.

The END7-supported study will also build the capacity of local health staff. Already, training has been completed for community health workers to deliver deworming medicines, for laboratory technicians to diagnose intestinal worm infections, and for nurses to carry out nutritional assessments such as measuring children’s weight and height and their hemoglobin levels, an important indicator for anemia. By training local staff, INMED is strengthening Peru’s public health sector and creating a sustainable project that will continue to improve the health of Peruvians.

INMED’s efforts to increase access to NTD treatment among the most vulnerable communities in rural areas of Peru are inspiring. Thanks to the generosity of END7 donors, this project will lay the groundwork for future deworming campaigns that will reach more children at risk for intestinal worms in Peru.