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!

New Report: The Neglected Tropical Disease Initiative in Latin America on the Effectiveness of Integrated NTD Programs

 

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While major gains have been made in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), the Latin American and Caribbean region’s most poor and marginalized populations still suffer from the pain, disability and social exclusion associated with NTDs — diseases which have been successfully controlled in higher income countries.

However, the Latin America and the Caribbean Neglected Tropical Disease Initiative (LAC NTD Initiative), a partnership between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Pan American health Organization (PAHO) and Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, is proving that the control and elimination of NTDs within the region is possible and within reach.

In a recently-published report, titled It Can be Done: An Integrated Approach for Controlling and Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases, the IDB draws upon four NTD demonstration projects to provide lessons learned in integrated NTD control projects. The projects, taking place in Brazil, Guyana, Haiti and Mexico, took an integrated approach to addressing NTDs by combining interventions from the water and sanitation and education sectors, and taking advantage of synergies within governments, NGOs and private sectors within the region. This integrated approach stands in contrast to the more traditional approach to addressing NTDs — one which historically involved concentrating on one disease at a time and offering medications and treatments to entire at-risk populations to stop the spread of disease.

The work undertaken by the LAC NTD Initiative is critical; the Latin America and Caribbean region has been plagued by underfunding for NTD control even though more than 100 million individuals in the region are infected by at one or more of these diseases. Yet NTDs can be treated at a very low cost in comparison to other public health interventions. For example, it is estimated that lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and trachoma could be eliminated, and soil-transmitted helminth and schistosomiasis controlled in the Latin America and Caribbean region by 2020 for as little as US$0.51 per person in most countries.

As the world quickly approaches the deadline of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals go into effect, we must focus on the world’s poorest and most marginalized communities who suffer from NTDs in an effort to ensure that no one is left behind.

It Can be Done: An Integrated Approach for Controlling and Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases seeks to inform policymakers and program managers’ efforts to design, manage, implement and evaluate integrated NTD programs. The report, which presents the first comparative analysis that uses a single methodology to investigate the feasibility of implementing integrated programs, will certainly move the world one step closer to ending the suffering caused by NTDs.

To read the full report, click here.

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#StopTheWorms: STH Coalition Forming New Partnerships to Reduce Intestinal Worm Infections in Children

 

This week, the Soil Transmitted Helminth (STH) Coalition and various NGOs are meeting in Paris for a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) NGO Network meeting to discuss effective ways of advancing the control and elimination of STH (also known as intestinal worms) and other NTDs.

The STH Coalition is a diverse group of committed organizations that are actively engaging new partners from multiple sectors to advance the goal of reducing intestinal worm infections in children. The STH Coalition is made up of partners that include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, the World Health Organization (WHO) and many other organizations. The Global Network is also happy to be a part of this group of committed organizations.

Intestinal worms are some of the most common NTDs that affect the health and livelihoods of the poorest and most marginalized communities in the world. Intestinal worms affect over one billion people world-wide and destabilize global development initiatives in multiple sectors including nutrition, education and maternal health.

To accelerate the work of the STH Coalition in forging new partnerships in the fight against intestinal worms and other NTDs, Children Without Worms (CWW) has been promoting the STH Coalition’s mission via @CWWDirector on Twitter and through their blog leading up to the NTD NDGO Network meeting in Paris.

We encourage you to share, tweet, and re-tweet content released by the STH Coalition in order to boost awareness about intestinal worms. Follow this link to learn more about the STH Coalition and their important work, and check out the infographic below – highlighting the importance of controlling intestinal worms.

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Neglected No More: A Post-2015 Framework that Delivers for NTDs

By Helen Hamilton, Policy Advisor on NTDs at Sightsavers

This week the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) community will come together at the NNN – a welcome acronym for the Non-government Development Organisations Neglected Tropical Disease network. Together, we’ll be reflecting on achievements such as the global trachoma mapping project and the challenges ahead if we are to achieve our elimination goals.

At the same time, across the Atlantic, world leaders in New York will turn their attention to questions of poverty eradication and sustainable development in the post-2015 development agenda.

Today many millions benefit from the huge advances and scale up in the NTD response but many others won’t unless more is done to reach the most vulnerable across the globe – those already marginalised and underserved by national and global development. For the NTD community, the post-2015 dialogues are a huge opportunity both to ensure the specific inclusion of NTDs within the framework and provide an enabling environment, such as improved hygiene alongside water and sanitation, which supports the elimination and control of these diseases.

We know that nothing has more impact on health than poverty and marginalisation and this holds true for NTDs. That’s why we’re calling for a post-2015 development framework that includes NTDs and also addresses their major risk factors, such as inadequate access to health and water, sanitation and hygiene services.

Why is this important to the NTD response? Because one billion people globally who are affected by NTDs precisely because they are marginalised, vulnerable and living in poverty. Their health needs and rights are not met and upheld.

A new focus

The focus of post-2015 has been addressing broad systematic inequalities that keep people in poverty and allow diseases to flourish. The focus on delivering lasting change and the recognition that equity and wellbeing must be central in this new agenda aligns squarely with the NTD response.

One of the major ideas to gain traction in post-2015 discussions is ‘leave no one behind’. This shift would mean that no post-2015 goal could be reached unless it meets the need of everyone – in particular poor and marginalised groups such as people with disabilities, children and older people.

To do this, we need a framework that puts people at the centre that addresses the structural barriers to accessing health services, such as making health services accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities.

A new health narrative

Under the MDGs, there were three health-focused goals but this is unlikely to be the case for the post-2015 framework. The health sector has united behind the call for one goal that supports healthy lives for all. Building strong and resilient health systems are critical to achieving and sustaining NTD goals. Health systems are the only way to ensure that everyone everywhere can access the healthcare they need, including targeted NTD services, when they need it and in a way that is affordable.

A dedicated NTD target

Within any health goal we need a specific NTD target that delivers on preventive, curative and rehabilitative care for people at risk or affected by NTDs. To do this effectively and support the NTD response, it will need to draw on existing targets and objectives that the NTD community is working towards, such as the WHO NTD roadmap and the London Declaration on NTDs.

Neglected no more

The post-2015 discussions are primarily a question of people’s opportunity to influence their future. Good health plays a critical role in empowering people to achieve other development goals. Neglected populations who have been subject to centuries of ill health caused by neglected tropical diseases must be prioritised within any new framework if we are truly committed to leave no one behind.

Improving health is not just a case of tackling disease but influencing the wider determinants of health such as poverty, employment, housing and education that allow NTDs to exist and flourish. We need a framework that takes a dual approach to NTDs – addressing them directly through specific targets and indicators while also recognising that universal health coverage within stronger health systems and eliminating extreme poverty are critical to ending NTDs.