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Merck, a leading science and technology company, to fund NALA project in Ethiopia

We are proud to announce that the next stage of the national project - intense health education and community mobilization support in Ethiopia’s toughest disease hotspots - will be launched this month with the generous support of Merck. Merck's vision is to discover, develop and provide innovative products and services that save and improve lives around the world. In this spirit, they have committed to funding our project. Last year NALA agreed on a national technical assistance project with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health. The project includes three elements. The first is to support for the Federal Ministry of Health in creating a behavioral change and WASH strategy for elimination of NTDs (Neglected Tropical Diseases). The second is dedicated support for trachoma elimination partners with launching community mobilization and WASH campaigns. Both these elements were launched last October with the support of Sightsavers, a UK based charity, and in partnership with the JDC, and now the third stage is also underway.

The area of focus is Bench Maji, a zone the size of the state of Israel, with population of about 850,000. Within Ethiopia, Bench-Maji is one of the most affected zones with all wereda (districts) in the zone being endemic for 4 NTDs - Schistosomiasis, STH, Trachoma and Onchocerciasis. In addition, 9 out of the 11 wereda are also endemic for LF. The aim of this support is to influence change in the most acute location, and develop best practices that could be rolled out nationally.

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