Dr Kesete Admasu
CEO, Big Win Philanthropy and
Former Minister of Health for Ethiopia
NTDs don’t just shatter lives. By stopping people from reaching their full potential they also hinder economic growth. That’s why urgent investment in NTD control is needed.
The health impacts of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are both obvious and devastating. They can disable, disfigure and — if left untreated — even kill.
In order for NTD elimination to become a reality, we need greater commitment from leaders in government.
Yet NTDs also have a less obvious — but no less devastating — economic impact: they discreetly rob people of their economic opportunity and prevent them from meeting their full potential. Those affected are more likely to have lower educational outcomes and earning ability.
To change lives and improve economic productivity, more investment is needed in NTD control. Take a simple treatment such as deworming drugs, which are shown to increase educational outcomes in children and earning potential in adults. “Studies disclose that children who are dewormed are 25% more likely to attend school, and adults are able to increase their earnings by up to 20%,” notes Dr Kesete Admasu, CEO of Big Win Philanthropy and Former Minister of Health for Ethiopia. “Deworming also improves labour productivity and long-term economic gains.”
How African citizens in the Diaspora can make a real difference
Dr Kesete highlights findings from an EIU report which reveals that eliminating illness and death from bilharzia and intestinal worms in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe by 2030 could boost GDP by US$5.1 billion. “In order for NTD elimination to become a reality, we need greater commitment from leaders in government, industry and all those who will benefit from the economic growth ending NTDs can create” he insists.
Dr Kesete also calls on Africans living in the Diaspora to play their part by directly investing in NTD programming within their countries of origin. “Philanthropy by and for Africans is extremely important,” he stresses. “This is because African citizens in the Diaspora likely have insights and resources that are crucial to maximising any effort to reduce the burden caused by NTDs in African countries.” The END Fund provides a platform to fund partners that support critical programming across the continent.