Group kicks off campaign to fight neglected tropical diseases

WASHINGTON: The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases launched the "End 7" campaign today, with the goal of eliminating seven tropical diseases as a public health threat to poor communities by the end of 2020.

WASHINGTON: The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases launched the “End 7” campaign today, with the ultimate goal of eliminating seven tropical diseases as a public health threat to poor communities by the end of 2020.

The effort also aims to raise public awareness of all seven major neglected tropical diseases: elephantiasis, river blindness, snail fever, trachoma, hookworm, whipworm, and roundworm.

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is an initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping the spread of illness from vaccine-preventable tropical diseases.

The nonprofit will use a Facebook hub developed by Wunderman UK and will promote it with videos, photographs, success stories, and other content, such as a real-time donation ticker.

The organization is emphasizing social media, versus traditional avenues such as print and TV ads, as a tactical way to ensure robust communication about the cause.

“We think social media will get most people involved,” said Johanna Harvey, communications officer at Sabin.

“With TV ads, there is no space for two-way communication,” she added.

The organization also wants to inform consumers about the costs of distributing medicine and to set up treatment programs in impoverished communities by targeting younger consumers. It costs about 50 cents per year to treat and protect one person against all seven diseases.

The group will have to work hard to raise public awareness of the diseases because they receive relatively little attention due to their low death rates, said Harvey. The campaign budget was undisclosed.

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