September 27, 2019
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect over one billion of the world's poorest people. More than 170,000 people die from NTDs each year, and many more suffer from blindness, disability, disfigurement, cognitive impairment, and stunted growth. Yet NTDs are treatable and preventable, and the annual cost of treatment is incredibly low.
In Under the Big Tree, public health leader Ellen Agler and award-winning writer Mojie Crigler tell the moving stories of those struggling with these diseases and the life-saving work that can be—and has been—done to combat NTDs. They introduce readers to people from all walks of life—from car washers in Lake Victoria and surgeons on motorbikes to under-resourced local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and Big Pharma scientists—as they chronicle what has been called the largest public health program in the world.
On the one hand, the solutions are simple: deliver medication to people who need it and leverage local systems to offer prevention, treatment, and education. On the other hand, solutions are complex: navigating local and national politics, delivering treatment to some of the most remote, vulnerable communities, and coordinating global and local donors, international NGOs, thousands of health workers, and millions of citizens.
Drawing on interviews with major players in the NTD world who share their cutting-edge research and frontline experiences, Under the Big Tree is a moving introduction to the science, the tactics, and the partnerships working to address these terrible diseases that affect the most vulnerable people in the world. With a foreword by Bill Gates, this book fascinates, inspires, and gives readers concrete steps for further engagement.
Mojie Crigler is writer-in-residence at the END Fund, a private philanthropic initiative working to end five neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affecting 1.5 billion people - 1 in 5 people alive today. In addition to co-authoring Under the Big Tree she is the author of Get Me Through Tomorrow: A Sister's Memoir of Brain Injury and Revival (University of Nebraska Press, 2015). Her short fiction and nonfiction works have appeared in Glimmer Train, Los Angeles Review, Drunken Boat, Hunger Mountain, The Rumpus, and The Believer. A graduate of Stanford University and Vermont College of Fine Arts, Mojie received the 2010 Howard Frank Mosher Prize for Short Fiction.