Everyday, women like Mtumwa face diseases we know how to treat and prevent — but leaders aren’t giving them the support they need.
Solutions exist. Mtumwa Juma is a chapati maker and mother in Zanzibar, who was struck by elephantiasis. Now, with the right healthcare, she proudly boasts “After getting these medicines from the government, my life is good and I’m not worried anymore. I am just a normal person. I’m just a normal person like any other people so that makes me happy.”
Lymphatic filariasis — otherwise known as elephantiasis — is a medieval disease that causes swelling of body parts, resulting in pain and severe disability. And on top of all this, women affected with the disease often experience rejection from their spouses or communities, mental health difficulties, and are less able to earn enough money as adults.
It’s the year 2019 — yet diseases that we know how to treat or prevent continue to cause poverty and suffering worldwide.
This is particularly true for 1.5 billion of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people, who continue to face the devastating threat of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These are diseases that we know how to treat or prevent, yet without adequate attention cause severe disfigurement, disabilities, and social stigma particularly in women. This is shockingly unnecessary.
Call on leaders to recommit to improve women’s health by tackling neglected tropical diseases.