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Published On: Sat, Feb 22nd, 2014

Abhishek Bachchan spreads awareness of neglected tropical diseases, named END7 campaign ambassador in India

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (Global Network) recently 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, according to a Global Network press release.

Elephantiasis Image/CDC

Elephantiasis
Image/CDC

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.”

WATCH: Video of Mr Bachchan visiting patients with lymphatic filariasis and discusses the importance of NTD advocacy.

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.

Related story: VIDEO: Miss Universe 2011, Leila Lopes joins END7 campaign

“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.”

The seven NTDs cause a wide spectrum of devastation ranging from blindness as in the case of trachoma and onchocerciasis, elephantiasis in the case of lymphatic filariasis and hookworm in the case malnutrition and anemia. The other NTDs targeted in this campaign are schistosomiasis, ascariasis and trichuriasis.

Mass drug administration is the method where several of the disease can be treated with a single drug, while others are treated with a combination of drugs for approximate 50 cent person.

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.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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