08/06/2010 05:12 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

50 Cents Can Save A Child From Tropical Disease

Their official name is 'Neglected Tropical Diseases' (NTDs), and they are a group of 13 bacterial and parasitic infections that afflict over 1.4 billion people, most of whom live far below the poverty line. NTDs are debilitating and often fatal, especially when multiple are contracted simultaneously, and primarily affect children, women and those living in remote areas.

Fortunately, the Sabin Vaccine Institute has initialiated The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases -- a nonprofit advocacy project that aims to mobilize socially, politically and financially, on behalf of the impoverished communities disabled by NTDs. The Network considers the fight against these diseases to be a primary factor in the larger fight against poverty in less-developed countries.

While it is easy to understand the significance of the deaths caused by NTDs, it is difficult to comprehend the chronic disability and illness they cause, along with their contribution to poverty. NTDs impair physical and cognitive development, cause adverse pregnancy outcomes, and limit adult productivity in the workforce. As a result, they cause billions of dollars in lost wages, all but ensuring that those at risk of infection remain trapped in a cycle of poverty and disease.

Though NTDs are highly communicable and deadly, they are treatable with medications already available. For Just 50 Cents, people can fund a "rapid-impact package" of medications that targets the seven most common NTDs, giving a child the chance to live another year without the pain and stigma of these infections. The 'Just 50 Cents' campaign is The Global Network's awareness movement that encourages individuals to make a difference simply by donating the spare change in their pockets.


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