Bollywood Celebrity Abhishek Bachchan Named Ambassador for END7 Campaign - FAQs

What are neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)?

  • Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of parasitic and bacterial infections that infect one in six people worldwide, including more than half a billion children.
  • NTDs disable, debilitate and perpetuate poverty.
  • Transmitted by worms in the soil or through an insect bite, NTDs can cause blindness, huge swelling in appendages and limbs, and severe malnutrition and anemia.
  • NTDs are a leading factor in pregnancy complications, they prevent children from attending school and they keep adults from working.
  • Without treatment, NTDs trap families and communities in a cycle of disease and poverty.

Why are NTDs considered “neglected?”

  • NTDs are the most common diseases of the world’s poor. They are considered “neglected” because they primarily affect the most marginalized communities.
  • NTDs are linked with poverty and a lack of basic necessities, including water and sanitation.

What is NTD treatment?

  • Multiple NTDs can be treated and prevented at once through community-wide mass drug administration (MDA). In at risk-communities, everyone takes the medicine to prevent the diseases from spreading.
  • Since NTD pills are safe and highly effective, people with just a small amount of training can distribute them.
  • A simple packet of pills treats and protects one person per year against the most common NTDs.

Why is treatment considered free?

  • Pharmaceutical companies have pledged to donate all the medication necessary to treat the most common NTDs. In 2012, 13 pharmaceutical companies expanded their drug donation commitments by pledging to donate 14 billion doses by the end of the decade.

What are the seven most common NTDs?

  • Intestinal worms (roundworm, hookworm, whipworm) – present in India
  • Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis) – present in India
  • Trachoma – present in India
  • Onchocerciasis (River blindness) – not in India
  • Schistosomiasis (Snail fever ) – not in India

Who is part of the global effort to fight NTDs?

  • The international effort to fight NTDs has the support of a diverse group of global partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, national governments, pharmaceutical companies, corporations and individuals.

What is the END7 campaign?

  • END7 is an international advocacy campaign that seeks to raise the awareness and funding necessary to control and eliminate the seven most common neglected tropical diseases by 2020. END7 is run by the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

Can we really end 7 NTDs by 2020?

  • 2020 is a realistic target date because medicines that treat and prevent these diseases exist and have been donated by pharmaceutical companies.
  • Transporting the medicines, training local health care workers, and program monitoring and evaluation are the primary costs that need to be covered.
  • Through sustained Mass Drug Administration (MDA) we can cut transmission rates for NTDs and reach a point where they are eliminated as a public health threat in once-endemic communities.
  • We also need better integration with other health sectors representing water, sanitation, education, and nutrition to take a more holistic approach to solving persistent – and intertwined – health issues facing the world’s poor.
  • 2020 is the target date set by the World Health Organization with leading global health partners.

Why did Abhishek Bachchan get involved with the END7 campaign?

  • Abhishek Bachchan can educate the public about the debilitating impact of NTDs while fighting the stigma that often means those suffering are shunned.
  • Mr. Bachchan brings a passion for pursuing Indian health challenges and has learned through his family’s experience with supporting polio eradication efforts that he can play an essential role in galvanizing support to beat NTDs.
  • Mr. Bachchan encourages policymakers to continue making the cost-effective investment in NTD programs to drive health and growth in India.

Why is the END7 campaign launching in India?

  • India has been 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 is at the cusp of achieving what could be its next major public health success: the control and elimination of five highly prevalent NTDs.
  • India accounts for 35 percent of the global burden of NTDs, meaning that 35 percent of people that require preventive treatment around the world live in India.
  • India already runs the largest national NTD program in the world and has the resources to achieve a landmark public health success.
  • India’s efforts are necessary to reach the goal of controlling and eliminating the most common NTDs by 2020.

What will the END7 campaign do in India?

  • Through a partnership with Mr. Bachchan, the END7 campaign’s new ambassador for India, the END7 campaign will build up momentum for combating NTDs. Increased political and corporate commitments are needed, and the END7 campaign will provide public motivation for new players to get involved.
  • Mr. Bachchan can help attract new partners in different sectors, including the corporate and entertainment industries, encourage Indian government officials to keep building on their progress and raise awareness for NTDs among the public.
  • Mr. Bachchan can help tackle the social stigma caused by NTDs and emphasize the importance of taking treatment to stop transmission.

What can Indians do to support the END7 campaign?

  • The END7 campaign is eager for Indians to join us in raising awareness of how to fight NTDs – from the importance of taking medication annually to improving sanitation .
  • People can help emphasize the need for our leaders to prioritize NTD programs. Like polio, India can make history by eliminating NTDs.
  • Educate the public about the debilitating impact of NTDs while fighting the stigma that often means sufferers are shunned.

What will Abhishek Bachchan be doing as the END7 campaign’s ambassador in India?

  • As the END7 campaign ambassador in India, Abhishek Bachchan will raise public awareness, help people understand the importance of taking treatment and encourage new partners to get involved.
  • Mr. Bachchan will help tackle the issue that plagues so many Indians: the social stigma the people endure when they are infected by diseases such as lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) and trachoma.
  • These efforts will also help hold Indian government leaders accountable and encourage them to continue making the cost-effective investment in NTDs.