BALTIMORE, MD, November 10, 2021 -- IMA World Health was awarded a $573,000 grant by the END Fund to support the continuation of urgent Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) services in South Sudan. VL, also known as kala-azar, is a debilitating, and if left untreated, fatal neglected tropical disease (NTD) that over two million people are at risk of contracting across South Sudan.
In the decade since South Sudan’s independence, violent conflict, internal displacement and food shortages have devastated access to primary health care and increased the risk of NTD infections. South Sudan launched a five-year strategic plan in 2015 to combat NTDs that includes VL, which is endemic in the Upper Nile, Jonglei, Unity and Eastern Equatoria states.
To drive forward efforts to combat VL, the END Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, working with a group of donors including the ELMA Foundation and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, have recently provided a combined amount of funding to support urgent elimination efforts. The END Fund is supporting programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, and South Sudan, while the Gates Foundation is funding activities in Bangladesh and Nepal.
By partnering with the END Fund, IMA World Health will advance local leadership by strengthening health systems for VL control as well as integrating VL diagnosis and treatment in 21 primary health care facilities in disease-prevalent counties in South Sudan. In support of the government’s national VL strategy, IMA World Health will bolster local capacity for health facility management, improve integration of VL services into the primary health care system, facilitate national and state joint planning for VL control, establish lab-based surveillance and data-sharing strategies, improve case detection through rapid testing and raise community awareness about VL.
The critical support for VL control that has been made possible through the END Fund, the Gates Foundation, the ELMA Foundation and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies allows for the continuation of IMA World Health’s collaboration with South Sudan’s Ministry of Health. Over the past seven years, IMA World Health supported the national VL program through the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office-funded ASCEND project, Department for International Development-funded KalaCORE program, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded VL bridge support program. To build on great advances in VL control through these efforts, the END Fund renews critical funding to facilitate sustained control and acceleration of VL elimination across South Sudan.
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About IMA World Health
Founded in 1960, IMA World Health is a leading public health organization that strengthens health systems, improves maternal and child health, prevents and treats diseases, promotes nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene, addresses sexual and gender-based violence and responds to global health crises. IMA World Health is part of Corus International, an ensemble of organizations working together in the world’s most fragile settings to deliver the holistic, lasting solutions needed to overcome the interconnected challenges of poverty, health care access and climate change.
About the END Fund
The END Fund is a private philanthropic initiative that exists to end 5 of the most prevalent Neglected Tropical Diseases. The fund efficiently puts private capital to work, advocating for NTD programs that are innovative, integrated and cost-effective. It facilitates strong partnerships with the private sector, government partners, and local implementing partners to collaboratively support national disease programs. This is done through a proven implementation model that is tailored to meet the needs of individual countries, with the view to fostering healthier communities, protected from the risks of NTDs. Since its founding in 2012, along with partners, the END Fund has distributed over 1 billion treatments across 31 countries, performed over 43,000 blindness and disability-preventing surgeries; and trained nearly 3.5 million health workers to pre-empt and treat neglected tropical diseases.
Holli Jordan, Senior Manager, Foundations