We can’t officially start the new year without reflecting on the past, so we are kicking off 2019 with some of our favorite stories from the last 12 months. From the launch of innovative new treatments to the rising global profile of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), here is what made 2018 one of the best years yet for the END Fund and the NTD community!
1) Goals Achieved — the BIGGEST story of 2018 was that several countries officially achieved elimination or were able to break the transmission of an NTD. Egypt, Vietnam, Palau, and Wallis and Futuna eliminated lymphatic filariasis (LF). Ghana and Nepal eliminated blinding trachoma. Nigeria stopped the transmission of river blindness in two states. And, South Sudan, the world’s newest country, became the latest to stop the transmission of Guinea Worm. It was truly exciting to see all of this amazing progress!
2) The END Fund supported the distribution of over $1 billion worth of drugs used to treat NTDs since our founding in 2012. Almost all of the drugs have been generously donated by pharmaceutical companies and distributed through our dedicated partners.
3) Ok, this is a story from 2017, but we only officially learned about it last year. In 2017, for the second time in a row, the NTD community treated more than 1 billion people for at least one NTD! There are still millions more who need treatment but thanks to the continuous progress from the NTD community, we look forward to reaching more people and areas in 2019!
4) In a string of groundbreaking firsts, IDA treatment was launched in key countries around the world with the potential to significantly accelerate LF elimination. Samoa became the first to roll-out the new triple-drug therapy, followed by Kenya as the first nation in Africa. IDA could reduce the time to treat and break transmission of LF from 5-10 years down to 2. The new approach will not only improve the health of communities, but strengthen health systems by freeing up skilled health workers. On Jan 20, 2019, India launched IDA as the third country worldwide to implement the new therapy!
5) Deworming continues to be recognized as a best value in public health! For the third year in a row, organizations with mass deworming programs made Givewell’s list of most effective charities. The END fund, Evidence Action, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, and Sightsavers were highlighted as top charities where your donations have a lasting impact.
6) The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) added NTDs to its annual scorecard on disease progress at the 30th African Union Summit. By adding NTDs alongside malaria as a top priority, African leaders made a public commitment to hold themselves more accountable and demonstrated their resolve in taking bold steps to end NTDs.
7) NTDs took center stage at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg alongside Oprah, Beyonce, and many more. Approximately $150 million was pledged towards NTD causes on stage at the festival including including Elizabeth Tanya Massiyawa’s announcement of 15.5 million dollars for the END Fund.
8) This story may not have the biggest impact (yet), but it was definitely a highlight for our staff. Students from Carborro High School took up the issue of NTDs in their “Global Cultures and Global Studies” class. Our CEO, Ellen Agler, presented at their school and the END Fund hosted a Q&A with staff where the students learned about a career in NTD work. It was inspiring to see the next generation of global humanitarians excited about ending NTDs!
9) Governments around the world reaffirmed their commitment to combat NTDs: 57 Francophone countries passed a resolution to end NTDs in their countries; USAID announced a new $200 million fund to treat NTDs in West Africa; DFID committed to ending blinding trachoma in commonwealth countries by the year 2020; And several individual governments made impressive gains in local NTDs efforts!
Now, we can officially put 2018 in the history books and work to make 2019 even better!
Do you have a story that you think we missed? Tweet it to us at @TheENDFund!