Spotlight on Neglected Tropical Diseases Could Drive India’s Next Big Public Health Success
MUMBAI, INDIA – February 10, 2014 – The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (Global Network) today named Abhishek Bachchan, Bollywood superstar and international humanitarian, as its first official END7 campaign ambassador in India to help raise awareness of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Mr. Bachchan joins the END7 campaign at a crucial time, with India at the tipping point of achieving control and elimination of five NTDs affecting 500 million people by 2020.
“India represents 35 percent of the total global burden for NTDs, causing massive suffering among our poorest citizens. As a parent, I am deeply moved by the devastating toll of NTDs on children, and I want to ensure that no Indian child has to suffer needlessly,” said Mr. Bachchan. “I am proud to serve as the END7 campaign’s ambassador in India and hope that others will join me in ridding our country of these preventable diseases.”
Maintaining the progress that India has gained against NTDs is vital right now. Abhishek Bachchan will play a key role in drawing attention to NTDs as an achievable health priority for India, educating the public about the impact of NTDs and the importance of complying with free NTD treatment programs, while also encouraging national and state level policymakers to continue making the cost-effective investment in NTD programs.
“We have already defeated smallpox, guinea worm and polio in India. NTDs can be our next major public health success story, and we are on track to eliminate lymphatic filariasis very soon. A focus on NTD control and elimination also represents one of the best investments we can make in the health and economic future of our country,” said Anshu Prakash, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. “We are happy that the Global Network is supporting our efforts to control and eliminate these diseases of poverty.”
“India currently runs some of the largest NTD control and elimination programs in the world, signaling its commitment to improving the plight of millions of people,” said Dr. Neeraj Mistry, managing director of the Global Network. “By continuing to prioritize NTDs and building up the ability to deliver treatments, India can be a global leader in efforts to defeat NTDs once and for all.”
It costs approximately 50 cents (31 rupees) to treat and protect one person for an entire year against all seven of the most common NTDs. Pills to treat NTDs are donated by pharmaceutical companies and many programs use existing infrastructure, such as schools and community centers, to administer the treatments, making NTD treatment one of most cost-effective public health initiatives available today.
The seven most common NTDs—hookworm, ascariasis (roundworm), trichuriasis (whipworm), schistosomiasis (snail fever), lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), onchocerciasis (river blindness) and trachoma—infect more than 1 in 6 people worldwide. They cause blindness, massive swelling in appendages and limbs, disfigurement, severe malnutrition and anemia. NTDs prevent children from growing and learning. They reduce adults’ economic productivity and ability to care for their families, keeping communities trapped in a cycle of poverty and disease.
END7 is the first and only global public awareness campaign dedicated to controlling and eliminating the seven most common NTDs by 2020. It was launched in 2012 by the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an advocacy initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.
Click here for FAQs regarfing this press release. Please visit www.end7.org and www.globalnetwork.org for more information, including fact sheets and program videos, or follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
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 (NTDs) by 2020. END7 is run by the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. For more information please visit: www.end7.org.
About the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases
The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is an advocacy initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute that works in partnership with international agencies, governments, academic institutions, corporations, non-governmental development organizations and the general public to raise the awareness, political will and funding necessary to control and eliminate the seven most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020. For more information, please visit www.globalnetwork.org.
About Sabin Vaccine Institute
Sabin Vaccine Institute is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers, and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering caused by vaccine preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Sabin works with governments, leading public and private organizations, and academic institutions to provide solutions for some of the world's most pervasive health challenges. Since its founding in 1993 in honor of the oral polio vaccine developer, Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to control, treat and eliminate these diseases by developing new vaccines, advocating use of existing vaccines and promoting increased access to affordable medical treatments. For more information please visit www.sabin.org.
About Abhishek Bachchan
Abhishek Bachchan is an Indian film actor and has acted in over 50 feature films during a span of thirteen years. He is the son of actors and Indian screen legends Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan. Abhishek has several film awards and titles as the ‘youth style icon’ to his credit. He is the brand ambassador of Idea!, Videocon d2h, Omega Watches. Abhishek has spearheaded the production of the film ‘Paa’, winner of four National Film Awards from the stable of AB Corp Ltd. He is the first Indian film star to hold a Guinness Book of World Record for film promotions of ‘Delhi 6’ and along with his wife, have been the only Indian couple to appear on the ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’. Abhishek is the captain and one of the founders of the All Stars Football Club (ASFC), a property of charitable trust that consists of film and television artists. His honors include the ‘Yash Bharati Award’, by the State of Uttar Pradesh and ‘Green Globe Award’ by the Green Globe Foundation and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
Married to actress and former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, he resides in Juhu, Mumbai with his family and daughter, Aaradhya.