Neglected Tropical Diseases: Preventable and Beatable.

Post by
Jaigar O'Neill
on
January 18th 2022

More than 1 in 5 people worldwide are affected by Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). We’re talking about rabies, leprosy, scabies, dengue, and 16 other debilitating, disfiguring, and deadly diseases. 

What do they all have in common? NTDs often affect the world’s most vulnerable people. They threaten the lives of the poor and marginalised, as well as limit their chances of staying in school, earning a living, or even being accepted by their family or community. With a history of being under-reported and overlooked by the rest of the world, these preventable and treatable diseases remain neglected. 

But there is hope. Today, 43 counties have eliminated at least one NTD so far, leading to 600 million people no longer requiring treatment, and proving that it is within our power to end them, for good, for all.

A Day for NTDs 

January 30th is World NTD Day, a day marking the 10th anniversary of the landmark 2012 London Declaration on NTDs, and an opportunity for the world to shine a light on NTDs. Most importantly, it’s a time to come together to talk widely and give generously – and help #EndTheNeglect. 

With you by our side, we are on a mission to end human rabies deaths by 2030. The World Health Organization (WHO) has set this target, and outlined the way forward towards a healthier future without NTDs. It’s not only a positive, ambitious and winnable goal, it’s achievable. All we need is you. 

END THE NEGLECT

Back to the start 

We joined the fight against NTDs in 2013 in India – the world’s hotspot for rabies, where a third of all human cases occur. In just 25 days we vaccinated 50,000 dogs against rabies so, we set ourselves a bigger challenge: make the state of Goa rabies-free!

Fast forward eight years and our state-wide public health initiative has successfully eliminated the virus from most parts of the state and led to Goa becoming the first Indian state declared a Rabies Control Area. With zero human rabies deaths reported in Goa since 2018, we are making huge strides towards our shared goal: to face NTDs and #EndTheNeglect.

Amidst a pandemic  

COVID-19 has added growing pessimism and fatigue in the fight against infectious diseases, but it’s also showed us what’s possible when the world comes together and acts with urgency. We have the knowledge, resources, and a scientifically-proven solution. Together, we have the power to eliminate rabies and end NTDs for good. 

At the start of the pandemic, the WHO singled out canine vaccination and dog bite response as essential services that should continue where possible in a safe way. In collaboration with local governments and NGOs, we continue to investigate suspected rabies cases, rescue sick and injured animals, as well as run large-scale canine vaccination, education programmes, and rabies surveillance to prevent disease outbreaks.

Rabies is one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases, but it’s also vaccine-preventable. It can be eliminated for people and animals everywhere, and we can be the ones to do it. Will you help us?

DONATE NOW 

A donation of just £10 could administer a life-saving vaccine to four dogs  protecting them and their local community from the deadly NTD, rabies. 

Our rabies heroes  

Ashok, our Education Officer in India  

99% of human rabies cases are caused by an infected dog bite. Through delivering rabies prevention lessons, including information about rabies, dog bite prevention, and dog bite first aid, Ashok gives at-risk people the knowledge they need to protect themselves. One primary school teacher explained to Ashok that many of her students come from very poor families and must send their children to school on foot. With unfamiliar stray dogs on their route, children were regularly bitten. Thanks to the lessons they received by Ashok, the children now know how to behave around unfamiliar dogs, and the school hasn’t received any dog bite reports since the programme began.

Vishal, a lifeguard in India  

The beaches in the Indian state of Goa are home to many stray dogs, making the patrolled beaches with lifeguards, beachgoers, and dogs a busy place to be. Sadly, out of fear of disease, people often throw stones, act aggressively, or run away from the dogs, which is the wrong way to behave around unfamiliar dogs, and often results in people getting bitten. This is why our Education Officers host workshops to teach lifeguards about dog behaviour and dog bite prevention, which they can pass on to beach-goers. Since the training, Vishal now keeps his distance, acts calmly, and avoids picking up sticks, bottles, or other items that may have been thrown at the animals in the past, when they are nearby. His actions have meant that the dogs no longer feel threatened by him, and instead of chasing him, they simply walk past, keeping him, his colleagues, and beachgoers safe.

Louis, our Data Collector in Malawi  

Lack of education is a key reason people die from rabies. We work with at-risk communities to teach them about the seriousness of rabies and the importance of canine vaccination. Louis, one of our Data Collectors, is part of the team in Malawi who contacts pet owners and encourages them to partake in our free clinics. This is a job that Louis is incredibly passionate about because, before 2009, Louis didn’t know anything about rabies  until is killed his four-year-old son. Louis now shares his story in the hope that other children can be saved from the unimaginable death.

READ HIS STORY
 

Unified against NTDs 

Each and every year we must push for greater action on NTDs, as well as inspire others behind the fight to #BeatNTDs. If we act now, together we can end centuries of untold pain, suffering, and death caused by infectious diseases, and eliminate the deadly virus. Can you help make this the Final Rabies Generation?

TAKE ACTION 

A donation of £25 can contribute towards our 24/7 rabies surveillance teams, so we’re always ready to respond.