Guest author Dr. Neeraj Mistry is the Managing Director of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases.
The work to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is one of the greatest examples of the power of innovative public-private partnerships. Endemic country governments, development partner governments such as the United States, non-profit organizations, pharmaceutical companies, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and many others have come together in an unprecedented way to demonstrate support for populations affected by these terrible diseases.
In spite of this progress, though, we noticed that a crucial population was missing: the general public.
That’s why in January 2012, the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases launched END7, the only public awareness campaign focused exclusively on NTDs. END7 is a compelling digital campaign that relies on a variety of social media channels and visual communications to get the word out about NTDs and rally mass appeal around our goal of eliminating the seven most common NTDs by 2020.
So far, we’re thrilled with the response. Since January of this year, we’ve grown to a community of more than 20,000 supporters and we’ve enlisted the help of big names in the music and entertainment industry in spreading the word far and wide.
But even more than the reach, we’re excited about the two-way engagement that we see taking place on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We recognize that disease names like onchocerciasis and schistosomiasis don’t exactly lend themselves to casual conversation, so the active level of participation evident on these channels is a certain sign that our supporters both understand the problem and want to be part of the solution.
As we continue into year two of the campaign, we will continue to create buzz around NTDs. We know that by doing so, we’re helping to promote our partners’ terrific work in the field and enticing new supporters and partners to join us.
Together we can see the end!