The Scope

Video: The war against schistosomiasis and other hard-to-pronounce neglected tropical diseases

Since 2007, international health organisations have been working towards eliminating 10 common neglected tropical diseases.

Dracunculiasis, onchocerciasis, echinococcosis, schistosomiasis – these almost unpronounceable words are names of neglected tropical diseases that affect billions of people. A global collaboration headed by the World Health Organisation has been working for the last 10 years to control these diseases.

One billion people were treated for at least one neglected tropical disease in 2015 alone, the World Health Organisation reported on Wednesday. The organisation is calling the progress over the last 10 years towards eliminating these diseases “record-breaking”.

Neglected tropical diseases are a group of communicable diseases that are found tropical and subtropical regions across 149. These diseases affect more than one billion people, mainly those living in poverty, and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year.

Neglected tropical diseases found in India include dengue, rabies, leprosy, kala azar and filariasis. Large populations across Africa are also affected by neglected tropical diseases.

Play

While celebrating 10 years of a global collaboration against neglected tropical diseases, the WHO noted its achievements. For instance, only 25 human cases of guinea-worm disease were recorded in 2016, putting eradication of the disease within reach. More than 114 million people received treatment for onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness. Cases of sleeping sickness or African trypanosomiasis have been reduced from 37,000 new cases in 1999 to less than 3,000 cases in 2015. In India, visceral leishmaniasis or kala azar was eliminated in 82% of the sub-districts where the disease was endemic.

This video, partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that supports the WHO’s programme against neglected tropical diseases, why these diseases are neglected and the sustained efforts needed to eliminate them.

Play

Much of the success in controlling the diseases has been attributed to mass drug distribution with donations of free medicines from pharmaceutical companies. In fact, nine drug companies including Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi have pledged to continue to donate drugs and treatments till the WHO’s elimination targets are met.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

Play
Play
Play

2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.