Dubai Cares announced today a commitment of AED3.67 million (USD$1 million) to The END Fund, the world’s first private donor-advised fund dedicated to Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), to combat seven of the most prevalent NTD infections in Angola. The contribution from Dubai Cares, a UAE-based philanthropic organization founded in 2007 by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to improve access to quality primary education for children in developing countries, will help the Fund move closer towards its goal of treating over 50 million people in the next five years.
NTDs are a group of parasitic and bacterial infections that are the most common afflictions of the world's poorest people. They blind, disable and disfigure their victims, trapping them in a desperate cycle of poverty and disease. Research shows that treating NTDs lifts millions out of poverty by keeping children in school so they can learn and prosper, by strengthening worker productivity and improving maternal and child health. NTDs treatment is one of the highest impact development approaches.
Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, said, “Dubai Cares is delighted to announce its partnership with The END Fund. As a result of our partnership, one million children will receive de-worming tablets – administered orally once every 6 months – that will help reduce worm-related morbidity and ensure children receive vital nutrition fundamental to their ability to go to and stay in school.”
The END Fund’s Chairman, William Campbell, said, “We thank Dubai Cares for its generosity in providing treatments for over one million children in some of the poorest areas of the world. This pioneering investment in partnership with the END Fund adds further momentum behind our goal of eradicating Africa’s seven most prevalent NTDs by 2020. The END Fund offers an exceptional social investment opportunity for those interested in transforming millions of lives and getting children back into school.”
The END Fund was seeded with grants from some of the world’s most innovative philanthropists including the Campbell Family Foundation, Gates Foundation, Geneva Global and Legatum Foundation. The END Fund and its partners have a five year track record of treating NTDs and to date have disbursed over 50 million treatments to over 10 million people over that period. Fundamental to the success of the programme is integration into a nation’s National Health Plan which enables the long term disease reduction.
NTDs affect over 1 billion of the world’s population: these diseases kill, maim and destroy lives predominantly in Africa. NTDs disproportionately affect children, preventing the growth and development of children, particularly their brains, during a critical stage of their development. They are one of the biggest reasons for student absenteeism and decreased productivity in school.
An educational/health impact study by Michael Kremer, Harvard (“Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in Presence of Treatment Externalities”) found that NTD treatment is the single most cost-effective means of improving children’s attendance at school. Children who have been dewormed are more likely to stay in school and demonstrate increased capacity to learn and concentrate.