Dear Decaturish – Your neighbors are beating neglected tropical diseasesImage provided to Decaturish.
We accept letters to the editor. Letters to the editor are opinions of the authors of the letter, not Decaturish.com. Everyone has an equal opportunity to submit a letter to the editor. So if you read something here and don’t like it, don’t jump on our case. Write a letter of your own. All letters must be signed. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and content. To send your letter to the editor, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anybody else binge-watching Dolly Parton’s “Heartstrings” this winter? If so, you may have heard one of the characters gossiping about someone who went to a honkey tonk only to leave with chlamydia of the eye.
Did you know that’s a real thing?
In fact, the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis is the leading infectious cause of blindness, and it’s responsible for visual impairment in nearly 2 million people. The resulting disease, trachoma, is incredibly painful. The infection is endemic in Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East (with no reported cases in Dolly Parton’s fictional “Baby Blues” bar). As it progresses, the eyelids turn inward so that the eyelashes scratch the cornea with every blink.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are ways to prevent trachoma. Furthermore, there’s an organization right in the heart of Decatur, The Task Force for Global Health, which manages the distribution of medicines that will eventually eliminate trachoma for good. The Task Force also has programs to prevent elephantiasis, intestinal worms, river blindness and leprosy (also a real thing).
These neglected tropical diseases (or NTDs, as we call them) affect the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. With the first-ever World NTD Day coming up on January 30th, we invite you to learn more about these diseases and the global fight to stop them.
To learn more about NTDs, go to worldntdday.org and follow #beatNTDs on social media. To find out what your neighbors are doing to fight NTDs, join us on Thursday, January 30th for a free event at The Task Force. We hope to see you there!
Associate Director, Communications & Development
Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
The Task Force for Global Health
Want Decaturish delivered to your inbox every morning? Sign up for our free newsletter by clicking here.
Do you appreciate quality local journalism? If you enjoy our coverage, please sign up to be a paying supporter of Decaturish. For as little as $3 a month, you can help us continue to cover your community. To learn more about becoming a paid subscriber, click here.