SNAIL FEVER 
VIRTUAL PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION

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In collaboration with Marcus Perkins 

Experience the magic of Bench Maji, Ethiopia through this guided exhibition and follow the story of Manyazawel, a little boy infected with schistosomiasis.

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Bench Maji is a tropical region of Ethiopia, approximately the size of Israel, that is home to over 1 million people.

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Streams are a source of life and leisure in Bench Maji used for washing, cleaning, and playing.

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Schistosomiasis affects over 200 million people across 78 countries in Africa, Asia, and South America.

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Merck has donated over 1 billion praziquantel tablets with the aim of treating 100 million school children each year

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Using latrines instead of going outdoors, frequently washing hands and avoiding swimming in the rivers are all habits which the local community are not accustomed to. 

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As a result of their position in the family, children are strong messengers of change, promoting improved household hygiene following what they learnt in school. 

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Clear instructions using images on fundamental practices are an essential part of controlling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

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Education is key, but many of these improved behaviours can only be implemented in an enabling environment. 

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As programs to eliminate schistosomiasis gather pace, we can begin to see a future where Manyazewal, and millions like him, will no longer be at risk of the disease.

We wish to express our deep gratitude to each of the subjects in these photographs for both their hospitality and openly sharing their lives with us. We are also extremely grateful to the people and the organizations who generously assisted with this project. They include Merck, the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and the local health and administrative authorities across Bench Maji.

 

Special thanks Marcus Perkins for capturing life in the region with sensitivity, and NALA Foundation staff; Dorin Turgeman, Asrat Meleko and Hailu Debebe.

 

Merck would also like to thank all global partners for their continuing efforts in the fight towards the elimination of schistosomiasis.

 

All photos: Marcus Perkins/ Ecce Opus for Merck

 

Copyright © Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany