If this blog series has at all achieved it purpose, it should be blatantly obvious by now that NTDs are no small matter. More needs to be done to eradicate and at least move towards creating a better quality of life for those affected.
The World Health Organisation (WHO, 2010) has taken steps to create change by publishing its five strategies for helping control and eliminate NTDs:
1.) Use preventative therapy
2.) Increase disease management
3.) Control vectors and responsibly manage environments
4.) Look into connecting the veterinary public health to human health more effectively
5.) Provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene and create better sustainability
Luckily, as wonderful as these ongoing strategies are, other organisations are running in conjunction to help fight NTDs.
Children without Worms
This organisation is focused on eradicating intestinal worms in those aged under 18, by partnering with local communities to provide basic sanitation, increase agriculture efficacy, in addition to providing education and treatment. This advocacy and project work is important, and the organisation works as a charity in partnership with many sectors, as they understand that eradication comes down to a combined team effort ( Children without Worms, 2017)
A widely successful and effective campaign has been lead by the END7 project, which works as a branch of Sabin Vaccine Institute. The user friendly media, celebrity endorsements and site accessibility have attracted people to learning more about NTDs and offering financial and advocacy support. The campaign has focused on making the complete eradication of elephantiasis, river blindness, snail fever, trachoma, roundworm, whipworm and hookworm a goal by 2020. The money goes to research, and the provision of cheap treatments to endemic regions. The campaign has been monumental in reaching the general public and has gained lots of support ( END7, 2016).
Centre for Disease Control
Lastly an important player in creating global shifts in the elimination and control of NTDs, is the CDC. The CDC plays a huge role in developing global policy, conducting research, evaluating and monitoring the progression of NTDs and providing technical support to ongoing projects. The CDC is important in terms of being the governing arm of NTD research and also in policy making. The CDC also works extensively to provide safe and effective mass drug distribution of NTD medications currently available (CDC, 2011)
Call to arms
As tempting as it is to think that there is nothing left for us to do or contribute, the truth is that NTDs are still such a huge global issue and it is imperative that we take an interest in creating better healthcare standards for the poorest and most disadvantaged in our world. We can get so caught up in our own lives and issues that we can fail to see how much we have to offer in terms of time, advocacy, financial aid and innovative thinking.
Yet moreover we need to not understate the importance of those individuals living with NTDs who have been ostracised, have resulting emotional trauma and the impact this has on the surrounding community. Recognition of the struggles of people suffering under the rule of NTDs allows us to be grateful for the medical care provided to us, and allows us to realise we have a duty to pass it on. So go on, don’t just let others do it, go out and find ways to promote and create real lasting impacts on NTD sufferers.