Abhishek Bachchan, global ambassador for the END7 campaign, recently shot an official new video to raise awareness of India’s large-scale programs to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020. The video shows Abhishek’s February 2014 visit to the Banamalipur Community Centre in Odisha, India, an eastern state that has one of the highest burdens of NTDs in the country. Here, the Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) is providing treatment, care, and education to patients suffering from, and the community at risk for, lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) and other NTDs. Lymphatic filariasis is one of the most common NTDs worldwide and in India, where the disease poses a threat to more than 500 million Indians.
“These are staggering numbers. We need the support of you, the media, to take the word out there,” said Abhishek. At CASA, Abhishek met with patients suffering from chronic lymphatic filariasis and listened to their experiences dealing with the hardships caused by this disease, including disability, disfiguration, stigma and ostracization. As the video shows, Abhishek also took a deworming pill (albendazole), one of the two drugs used to treat early lymphatic filariasis infection and stop transmission of this disease. “There’s a lot of work left to be done. Let’s help eliminate these diseases by 2020,” concludes Abhishek.