Students urge Congress to combat neglected tropical diseases

Walk across an American college campus today and you will be offered an almost overwhelming number of opportunities to get involved and give back, with students seeking donations or offering information about issues ranging from cancer research to education in low-income countries and every other worthy cause in between.

As representatives on the END7 campaign’s Student Advisory Board, we have chosen to focus our energy on a less visible cause: seven neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) afflicting over one billion of the world’s most impoverished people. We are working to involve our campus communities in the fight to control and eliminate NTDs, a group of diseases spread by parasites and bacteria that blind, disfigure and disable. NTDs perpetuate the cycle of poverty by making it difficult for children to obtain an education, for parents to work and for communities to reach their full potential. Pharmaceutical companies have agreed to donate medication needed to treat these diseases, which can be distributed for just 50 cents per person per year; however, NTD treatment programs are chronically underfunded due to international focus on more well-known diseases.

The Hill