Students Contribute in Effort to End Neglected Tropical Diseases
April 24, 2018 – Updated April 30
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) impact 1.5 billion people around
the world, and Illinois Wesleyan University students in a global health course are
doing their part put an end to NTDs.
As part of “Perspectives in Global Health,” a course taught by Associate Professor
of Health and Environmental Studies Laurine Brown, students debate various health issues that affect regions across the
world and propose possible solutions. Each year, near the end of the semester, students
select an organization to support and build an educational and fundraising campaign
around it, according to Brown. Now in their 12th year hosting the campaign, students
have chosen to partner with the END Fund, a private philanthropic initiative which focuses on delivering (NTD) treatments
to those in need.
Kelly Connor ’19, a member of the course and co-coordinator of the campaign, said
the class chose to support the END fund after being “shocked” when first introduced
to NTDs, such as elephantiasis and river blindness, during class discussions.
“I do not personally know anyone who has suffered from a NTD, and I assume very few
students on our campus do either,” said Connor, a nursing major and health minor.
“I think that's one reason why it was so important to raise awareness about these
miserable, truly neglected diseases.”
Launching their two-week campaign, “END Neglected Tropical Diseases” on April 16,
students hoped to raise awareness about NTDs and raise $1,000 for the END Fund. Upon
conclusion of the campaign, donations totaled more than $1,200 to support treatments
for more than 2,400 individuals – 50 cents per person per year – suffering from the
five most common NTDs.
“Over 1.5 billion individuals are suffering around the globe, but they receive so
little attention and assistance,” Connor said. “With the affordability of treatment,
it is so easy to help relieve some of the suffering and really make a profound impact
for thousands of affected individuals.”
In addition to utilizing a donation table with raffles in various locations around
campus, students also hosted a special outdoor event, "ENDless Fun with the END Fund,"
April 24 on the Eckley Quadrangle. Through their fundraising efforts, Connor said
students in the global health course hope to bring awareness to the Illinois Wesleyan
community about the presence, prevalence and severity of NTDs.
“The name says it all. These diseases are truly neglected by the general population,
especially those in areas that are not at risk,” Connor said. “Our campaign may be
brief, but we have the opportunity to make a profound contribution to the initiative
to eradicate NTDs.”