The end of summer means back to school for millions of children around the world. Tomorrow my two children will be starting school and as a parent it is in my uttermost interest to ensure they are healthy and ready to learn.

We all understand that education is critical to improving our lives and future. Yet tragically education is not an equal opportunity for millions of children around the world. Per Education Envoy, an estimated 61 million children are shut out of primary school, an astounding number.

Indian children learning

Children in a Delhi slum are able to attend school thanks to the support of NGOs like Pratham.

There are many obstacles and barriers to education – gender, poverty, child labor, disease, illness, war and unrest, and lack of schools – are some of the main culprits. However, many of these barriers to receiving education are solvable. Perhaps one of the most simple and inexpensive ways to achieving educational equality and getting more children in the developing world into school is to fight against NTDs or “Neglected Tropical Diseases”.


Hookworm in Jaipur, India causes alarming levels of anemia. Photo Source: END7

What are NTDs?

Neglected Tropical Diseases are illnesses you have most likely never heard of before unless you are a global traveler or have lived in the developing world. NTDs often have names that are difficult to pronounce and include such diseases as Chagas, Dengue, Dracunculiasis and Echinococcosis to name a few, and are a group of parasitic and bacterial infections that are common within the developing world. In fact, it is estimated that NTDs infect one in six people worldwide including one billion children (1).

Why do NTDs matter?

NTDs continue the vicious cycle of poverty by disabling and debilitating children so much that they are unable to attend school and learn. In the worst situations NTDs can kill children and their parents further reinforcing poverty.


Ready to go to school and be healthy to learn. Photo source: END7

What is the END7 Campaign?

END7 is a global advocacy campaign run by the Global Network to raise awareness of the seven most common NTDs and cultivate the resources necessary to eliminate them as public health threats by 2020. 

For as little as $0.50 a year, we can treat the seven most common NTDs: Elephantiasis, river blindness, trachoma, snail fever, hookworm, whipworm and roundworm.

Why 7? Because these seven NTDs are the most common and represent 90% of the global burden of NTDs impacting over one billion people. (2)

To learn more, check out END7s video below and visit their website here.

Information for this post was sourced from the following websites:  (1) and (2) 


  1. Another great post, Nicole! Although I’d lived overseas or traveled extensively for most of my adult life, I never had so many intestinal infections of varying forms and severity and, as you know, typhoid until I lived in Guatemala. There are so many NGOs working there to combat various issues but it seems more education in hygiene, especially regarding the preparation of food, is needed. As I discovered, without good health we’re helpless and nothing else is more important.

    1. Thanks Lucy for the comment. Yes good hygiene is critical. Washing hands, having safe water and all that kind of stuff goes a long way. I can’t imagine having these kinds of illnesses. They sound terrible and are so preventable.

  2. This is such an important cause, Nicole! One of my friends nearly died from dengue, even having been flown back to the US for treatment. Can’t imagine what it might be like without treatment.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    1. Wow, that is scary. Even my uncle got extremely ill twice with Malaria. We are so fortunate for good health care, aren’t we. hope all is well!!! N

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