Category Archives: END7

Free Online Class Teaches Students How to Change the World and End NTDs!

 

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Thanks to an online course beginning today, it’s now possible to learn just what it takes to change the world – for free! From climate change to global health and gender equality, the Coursera class, titled “How to Change the World” will give ordinary people the stats, knowledge and facts to become change-makers and advocates for a better world.

At Global Network, we’re especially excited that neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and our END7 campaign are featured in this week’s class – and the 20,000 people from around the world who are already enrolled in will be exposed to some of the most common yet easily treated diseases in the developing world.

The course, which attracted 60,000 online students during its initial run in February 2014, is led by Michael Roth, President of Wesleyan University. This week’s topic, “Disease and Global Health Care,” introduces course enrollees to key global health challenges and innovative approaches to care. A lecture on “Care, Organization, and Making a Difference” includes a presentation given by Dr. Neeraj Mistry, Managing Director of the Global Network; David Harris, executive creative director of Draftfcb in London; and Peter Koechley, co-founder of UpWorthy at the 2013 Social Good Summit in New York City. In the presentation, “Is Shock Value an Effective Way to Spur Social Good?,” Dr. Mistry explained the END7 campaign’s goal to create a movement around the NTD control and elimination effort:

“We have a wonderful public-private partnership with the pharmaceutical industry who are donating all the drugs, and we have great technical experts that actually help to ensure that these drugs get to the people that require them. So now we need to create the movement to ensure that it’s seeded in the public consciousness, and that enables us to influence policy and get more money for the cause for essentially a voiceless community.”

Footage from END7’s “How to Shock a Celebrity” video is also included in another lecture this week on “Major Health Challenges and Responses,” introducing course enrollees to the physical effects of NTDs.

Given the wide-ranging impact of NTDs – including reduced economic productivity and educational attainment, malnutrition and increased susceptibility to illness, and stunted physical and cognitive development – it is encouraging to see NTD treatment highlighted as a key global health intervention. We are excited to see END7 featured in this innovative public forum as a platform for “How to Change the World,” and excited to invite new supporters to join our campaign!

2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 16: Celebrating World Cup Teams Fighting NTDs

 

For one month, countries around the world are gathering to watch arguably the greatest sporting event in the world—the World Cup. Every four years, people from around the world come together to celebrate this epic event that transcends political turmoil, and even wars and conflict. In this time of celebration, we’re taking the time to recognize the World Cup teams advancing to the prestigious Round of 16! In particular, we’re highlighting the progress their countries have made in controlling and eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Brazil

brazilThe hosting nation of Brazil is being tagged as the favorite to win it all. If they do, the Brazilian National Soccer team would have a mind-blowing six World Cup trophies! While Brazil is famous for its passion and love for soccer, Brazil is also gaining public health recognition by taking concrete steps towards eliminating NTDs in their country.  In Brazil, nearly 6.8 million people are infected with schistosomiasis and millions are at risk for other common NTDs. To address this problem, Brazil has launched an integrated National Plan of Action for NTDs to combat all seven of the most common NTDs. Last year, the Brazilian Ministry of Health led a campaign to diagnose and treat leprosy and intestinal worms in 9.2 million public schools.

argentinaArgentina

With Argentina having arguably the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, the country’s hopes of winning the World Cup are high. Over the last four years, Argentina made tremendous progress towards preventing NTDs such as Chagas disease and intestinal parasites in at risk populations. In 2011, the Government of Argentina launched the National Institute for Tropical Medicine in an effort to advance NTD research and finding new solutions for lowering the prevalence of NTDs in at risk regions in Argentina.

colombiaColombia

The Colombian National Soccer team had been M.I.A. (missing in action) in World Cup action for the past 15 years. This year, Los Cafeteros has ended its long hiatus and is finally back on the World Cup stage. While the national team was working hard towards getting to this year’s World Cup, their country was busy accomplishing major NTD elimination goals. In 2011, Colombia became the first country in the Latin America region to eliminate onchocerciasis—a great milestone for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Nigeria

nigeriaNigeria’s Supereagles has always had high expectations when entering the World Cup—and rightfully so. The Nigerian National Soccer Team is one of the very few African teams that has ever reached the second round of the knockout stage (Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco are the only other teams). Nigeria is known for meeting expectations when it comes to controlling NTDs. This year, Nigeria achieved a major milestone in its fight against NTDs by launching Africa’s first integrated malaria and lymphatic filariasis (LF) elimination plan. Nigeria’s Ministry of Health has also reached 96 percent of communities with onchocerciasis mass drug administrations and is currently scaling up school-based deworming campaigns.

mexicoMexico

Mexico’s prized forward—Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez from Manchester United—hopes to transform the Mexican National Soccer Team into a serious contender in this year’s World Cup. Mexico has also taken serious strides in preventing NTDs by nearly eliminating onchocerciaisis and trachoma in their country. In 2011, Mexico launched a campaign to treat the last trachoma endemic state—Chiapas. Soon, Mexico hopes to become one of four countries in the region to eliminate trachoma.

costa ricaCosta Rica

In 1990, Costa Rica shocked the world by advancing into the knockout stage. This year, Costa Rica has surprised the world again by advancing into the Round of 16! Costa Rica has already put the global health world on notice by working to receive a certification by the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that they’ve successfully stopped transmission of lymphatic filariasis (LF).

On behalf of END7, we’d like to thank these countries on their continued effort towards eliminating NTDs and wish them the best of luck in this year’s World Cup!

Introducing Sophia, END7 May Student of the Month

 

Sophia

Each month, END7 honors one student who has made a significant contribution to our growing movement of young people dedicated to seeing the end of NTDs. For her incredible work during the month of May, we are proud to honor 11-year old END7 supporter Sophia.

Sophia

Sophia with donations she collected to sell at a yard sale to benefit END7

Sophia, a sixth-grader in an International Baccalaureate school, first learned about NTDs in an article in Scientific American. Right away, she knew she wanted to get involved in the cause and decided to focus her International Baccalaureate Exhibition Project on NTDs. “I was concerned about the symptoms of these diseases and how many people have them,” she shares. “I was surprised at how little it takes to help them!  I knew then what I was going to do for my Exhibition. I looked up NTDs and the link for END7′s homepage came up.” Sophia decided she wanted her project to support END7. “I wanted to help provide medicine to people, so I came up with the idea to hold a yard sale for my Exhibition action. I raised $878.50. That’s enough to treat 1,757 people! Along with the donations to my personal fundraising page, that brings the total up to 2,086 people so far! Now, I am working on my presentation for Exhibition day. I hope my presentation makes more people aware of the 7 NTDs and makes them want to help eliminate them. Because together, we can see the end!”

We are so grateful for Sophia’s commitment to END7 and are excited to see our community of young supporters grow. If you or a young person you know want to get involved in END7’s work, contact student coordinator Emily at Emily.Conron@sabin.org to learn how you can get started!

Abhishek Bachchan Visits with Patients Suffering from NTDs

 

Abhishek Bachchan

Bollywood celebrity Abhishek Bachchan visitis a community health center in Odisha, Bhubaneswar, India. (Photo by Vivek Singh)

Shortly after Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan joined the END7 campaign, we travelled together to Odisha (formally known as Orissa), near India’s east coast, to visit the Banamalipur Community Center. Here, the Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) is providing community-based care for patients suffering from, and the community at risk for, lymphatic filariasis (LF) and other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Through the work of volunteers and community health workers, the program currently serves more than 20,000 patients with LF and works in partnership with the government to support the distribution of medicine to everyone in the region to protect them from NTDs.

Abhishek met with patients who were suffering from chronic LF, and listened to their stories and experiences. They spoke of the previous hardship caused by the disease and, through the staff and services, had experienced considerable improvement in their quality of life. Yet, among many of them, there was a tangible sadness, which resulted from the stigma and ostracization caused by the disease: in a community where marriage of children is seen as a fulfillment of parenting, many of their daughters remained unmarried because suitors feared that the diseases was genetic.

LF is just one of the NTDs that can be prevented with annual medication. Once the limbs have swollen, there is no cure for LF but further disability can be prevented with proper care. CASA health workers explained and demonstrated morbidity management and disability prevention for patients with LF, which included proper washing and drying techniques, exercise massage and elevation of limbs. Abhishek was moved to join in, helping the CASA staff to wash the limbs of LF patients. Later, he took albendazole pills, one of the two medicines taken to treat and prevent early LF infection.

This visit only confirmed that there is more work to be done. While we control and eliminate these debilitating diseases, we must also improve the mental and social well-being of those suffering from NTDs. This goes beyond medicine and requires engagement of families, local community organizations, and the media and entertainment industry. With the help of organizations like CASA, and champions like Abhishek, we can take a holistic approach to addressing NTDs.

Of the 1.4 billion people in the world affected by NTDs, more than a third live in India. Global progress on NTDs hinges on India’s efforts and successes.

India is a historic leader in ending some of the most devastating diseases of our time, including smallpox and guinea worm, and most recently, polio. Now, India has the opportunity to achieve another significant public health milestone: the control and elimination of five NTDs.