Eliminating 7 Neglected Diseases that Affect World's Poorest by 2020
The Huffington Post highlights the necessity of deworming and its impact to call attention to a range of issues that should be addressed at the G8 summit. An excerpt:
Most people have never heard of elephantiasis, river blindness, snail fever, trachoma, hookworm, whipworm or roundworm. These seven parasitic and bacterial infections impact one in six people worldwide, including half a billion children. Without treatment, NTDs can lead to anemia, malnutrition, blindness and other severe physical and cognitive disabilities, perpetuating a cycle of poverty that continues from generation to generation.
The story of one girl in Bihar, India represents an experience shared by hundreds of millions of other children around the world. Twelve-year-old Jyoti recently battled an NTD infection that filled her body with intestinal worms, causing her to experience terrible bouts of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. She grew weak and whenever she tried to eat, she felt like she couldn't get food down her throat. And though she was an excellent student, Jyoti lacked the energy to perform well in school.
Thankfully for children like Jyoti, the solution to these diseases is readily at hand. A simple packet of pills, donated by pharmaceutical companies, can be used to treat and prevent infection from all seven NTDs for an entire year. The treatment programs are so simple that volunteers, community health workers and even teachers can administer them, bringing the annual cost of NTD prevention to about 50 cents per person and making it one of the most cost-effective public health programs around today.