4 days to the start of the 2016 Grand to Grand Ultra…
Participating in multi-stage desert races provides me with an opportunity to support non-profit organisations and social causes making a difference in society, especially in Africa.
I’m using the Grand to Grand Ultra to support the work of the END Fund and its efforts in eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa. I met the Fund’s CEO, Ellen Elgar, at a meeting in October 2015 in Kigali, Rwanda, and in learning about their work, was inspired to do more.Founded in 2012, the END Fund is a private philanthropic initiative which aims to combat the five most common NTDS – intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma and river blindness. Together, these diseases cause up to 90% of the NTD disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa. Globally, more than 1.6 billion people are affected by NTDs.
The END Fund’s response to NTDs focusses on mobilising and directing resources to where they can have maximum impact, with a special emphasis on Africa; advocating for innovative, integrated and cost-effective NTD programmes; and facilitating private sector engagement in the fight against NTDs.
The END Fund, in collaboration with government partners and local NGOs, treats NTDs by following a proven implementation model that is tailored to meet the needs of individual countries. Successful implementation involves understanding the scale of the problem and designing a robust mass drug administration (MDA) campaign targeted to reach and treat the right people. It is a process that catalyses resources, builds capacity among health professionals, and mobilises communities to distribute medicines for maximum impact at minimal cost.
Today, the END Fund is recognised as a leader in the global health movement dealing with NTDs, working collaboratively with committed partners, including global health organisations, funders and investors, pharmaceutical companies, leaders from developing countries affected by NTDs, and those who suffer from the diseases themselves.
The achievements of the END Fund in its four years of existence are remarkable. It has supported a wide range of partners in 22 countries, with the majority in Africa, provided treatment to over 85 million people at risk of NTDs, completed disease mapping for over 180 million people, distributed over $300 million worth of critical medicines, and provided surgery to thousands of people with advanced trachoma to prevent them from going blind. Studies have confirmed that for every dollar invested in NTD control, at least $50 is returned in increased economic impact over time, a return on investment unparalleled in global health.
But these numbers alone don’t tell the full story of the END Fund’s unique contribution to the global effort in response to NTDs. The wider impact and significance of the END Fund’s contribution is best described by Ellen Elgar in her foreword to the 2015 Annual Report:
“The intention embedded in the founding of the END Fund was not only to catalyze new, private philanthropic resources to control NTDs globally, but also to build a highly connected, engaged community of people who care deeply about this cause. Perhaps we should more accurately be called the END Community, as certainly financial resources have mattered in this bold endeavor, but just as important are the insight, commitment, intellect, vision, and entire range of personal and professional assets that each of you bring to the cause.”
This is a very inspiring story, and I’m proud to be associated with the END Fund linked to my participation in the 2016 Grand to Grand Ultra.
I invite you to support my fundraising campaign with a donation and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.
The countdown to the Grand to Grand Ultra continues…
Together, we can END NTDs!