Tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases

Julião Samutaka has worked for more than 20 years in Caála, a small town in Huambo province, Angola, where he teaches at the Bumba Flor primary school. In the community where he works and lives, many neglected tropical diseases like intestinal worms are endemic.

Prior to a partnership between the Helmsley Charitable Trust, Dubai Cares, MENTOR Initiative, and the END Fund, students at Bumba Flor had to leave school to use water and to access latrines. This inconvenient and unsanitary environment proved to be a barrier to education and learning, as well as to the children’s health.

When the END Fund’s implementing partner, MENTOR, started holding water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) trainings in Huambo, Julião joined the first group of trainees and received hygiene kits to take back to his community. He learned that washing hands with soap, a simple WASH intervention, interrupts the transmission of infection. Julião believes that introducing the hygiene kits and sharing what he learned has catalyzed many positive changes back at the school and throughout his community.

“We need more water access points,” Julião shared. “After I attended the WASH training, I have passed the messages to other people in the community and now more people are caring about better sanitation and good personal hygiene practices. This will improve our health status and avoid being sick.”

There are still milestones to be reached to motivate the population in implementing good hygiene practices, but according to Julião, all WASH training participants were excited to learn more.

With support from Helmsley’s Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa Program, over 2,315 schools in three provinces of Angola have received hand-washing facilities and tools to dig pit latrines through an END Fund-MENTOR program. Julião’s community is now rebuilding the latrines and constructing tippy taps - locally made hand-washing stations - for quick access to clean water. By empowering Julião and his community and removing barriers to good health, positive change becomes possible.

Watch this video to learn more about the END Fund’s work.