Early this fall, I wrote a post about END7, a global advocacy campaign run by the Global Network to raise awareness of the seven most common Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and cultivate the resources necessary to eliminate them as public health threats by 2020.
I had honestly never heard of NTDs before even with all my international traveling. However, NTDs keep millions of children in the developing world out of school from preventable, treatable diseases further reinforcing the cycle of poverty and despair. Per END7, there are seven NTDs (Elephantiasis, river blindness, trachoma, snail fever, hookworm, whipworm and roundworm) that are responsible for 90% of the global burden of NTDs. NTDs are a huge problem: It is estimated that NTDs infect one in six people worldwide including one billion children.
END7 recently released a beautiful, touching video titled “Three Generations, One Hope for Health“. Shot in Coast Province, Kenya by Mo Scarpelli, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and multimedia journalist, the video features the story of Fatuma, an eight year-old girl who emanates hope and perseverance despite the fact her little sister and grandma both suffer from NTDs.
Meet eight-year-old Fatuma, her younger sister Neema and their family who live in Burangi, a remote village in Kenya surrounded by water where neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are endemic. Their village has no paved roads, no hospitals and is a hotbed for NTDs. Just five years old, Neema has already been sick with intestinal worms for four years. As Fatuma grows taller and stronger, her little sister has grown weaker and has been doing poor in school.
Meanwhile, their grandmother also suffers from worms and has elephantiasis, a painful swelling of the feet which are covered with open wounds. Both these diseases can be treated with medication for only $0.50 per year. More than half the population of Kenya live on less than $1 a day and is at risk for one or more NTDs.
Please take a moment to watch this touching five minute video, “Three Generations, One Hope for Health”, which aims to move people towards awareness of NTDs and offer hope that someday we will be able to overcome them by easy, effective and inexpensive treatment.
I was curious how END7 filmed such a beautiful, touching video as it isn’t an easy feat. Here is what END7 told me about the work behind “Three Generations, One Hope for Health”.
END7 decided to support a mass drug administration (MDA) – when entire communities are given NTD pills to treat and prevent multiple NTDs at once – in Malindi, a rural village in the Coast Province of Kenya, because people really weren’t receiving consistent treatment. This MDA occurred in June 2013.
A big part of END7’s work is communicating the human, emotional aspect of these diseases. So we sent Mo Scarpelli, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and multimedia journalist who is captures characters and personal narratives, to film and photograph the MDA. Her website can be found here.
This MDA occurred during a week focused on health. Since community health care workers were already being trained on a variety of health issues, they also learned how to distribute NTD treatments. Then, they went around from home to home, distributing the pills and educating the community about what they were taking.
Mo witnessed this all. In Malindi for a week, she traveled around with the Ministry of Health staff and their partners, and the community health care workers. This is when she met the Kahindi family –Neema, Fatuma, their grandmother and mother – and learned all about their struggle and optimism. Mo encountered the family entirely organically – she’s all about finding stories rather than scripting them, and that’s how we prefer to work, too.
We can END7 by 2050. It is up to us to spread awareness. For more information, please check out END7 here.