I met Professor Alan Fenwick at a 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation in May at Imperial College in London. Before the presentation we were chatting about the way that money gets allocated to fight disease around the world, and the shocking fact that we allow some of the simplest and easiest to treat diseases to persist.
We were talking about the neglected tropical diseases – a group of infections like Trachoma, Schitsosomaisis and worms which affect one billion people on our planet. They’re not formally part of the Millennium Development Goal framework, but they’re an essential element of the fight against poverty.
Yet, as this video shows, many of them are easily treatable and preventable. It costs just 50p – that’s less than one US dollar – to treat the seven most common neglected tropical diseases for a year. It’s not sophisticated, it’s not complicated – it’s just basic medicine.
As Professor Fenwick says in an article he wrote for the journal Science, “The current generation of children in many countries could soon be free of parasitic worm infections, better nourished, and better able to attend school and perform in class.”
What is needed to make this a reality is support for initiatives like this, both from members of the public and from government – which you can do at http://50pence.org/.