HIGHERLIFE Foundation and The End Fund has joined hands with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, UNICEF and World Health Organization ( WHO) in the fight of Neglected tropical diseases(NTDs).
By Patricia Mashiri in Victoria Falls
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a stakeholders meeting for the feedback on the results of the impact assessment of six rounds of mass drug administration for schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminthiasis the Higherlife Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Kennedy Mubaiwa said despite the foundation’s strong education background, they got involved in the NTDs fight because the most vulnerable students are the school going age.
Higherlife Foundation started in 1996 with the focus in education, however we then naturally got involved in the system of reduction and elimination of NTDs because the most vulnerable population are school going children. We provide scholarships for primary, secondary and tertiary students and a lot of these students are from rural areas where these diseases are prevalent so it has been in line with our support for human capital development.
“We had been involved in the work which has been done by Ministry of Health wanting to bring down the prevalence of NTDs in our country. We got involved together with The End Fund in 2012 whereas we have been providing the funding and The End Fund brings technical funding,” Dr Mubaiwa said.
Dr Mubaiwa said the collaboration will be of benefit to their organization as they shall get more school going children without being affected by intestinal worms and Bilharzia and will also benefit the country as a whole.
The End Fund Senior Director Programs, Karen Palacio said they opted to help Zimbabwe in the fight of NTDs because it has shown commitment of trying to eliminate these diseases.
“Our work is to support all countries that committed in to addressing the burden of diseases through national plans and strategies. We work closely with the Ministry of Health and National Non-Governmental Organizations to support developing countries address these disease and the big focus is on pre-school and school going ages. We began in 2012 supporting the mass drug administration together with Higherlife Foundation.
“About 2million dollars has been injected to support this program from 2012- 2018.We support technically and the funding comes from Higherlife Foundation. The results so far shows that the program is working diligently as the prevalence rate was about 23% for Bilharzia when we started and now it has lowered to about 5%,” Palacia said.
The partnership is to reach the goal of breaking the transmission of diseases with the requirement of coordination with water and sanitation education, behaviour change hygiene and multisector approach.
Higherlife Foundation is a non- profit organization was founded in 1996 with a strong focus on education. The End Fund is a philanthropic initiative based in New York dedicated to ending the most common neglected tropical diseases.