Right to health

  • Fundamental Human Right

    ANESVAD has as its main objective the promotion and protection of health as a Fundamental Human Right.

  • Inalienable Human Right

    Health is an inalienable human right. To make development possible, we all have to contribute to promoting that right.

  • Lack of health

    Lack of health is both a cause and a consequence of poverty.

We work for the Right to health of the most forgotten people

Photo: Ana Palacios

We are an organization committed to the Right to health of the most impoverished and forgotten people on the planet. Our scope of intervention focuses on skin diseases such as Buruli ulcer, yaws or leprosy. These are three of the seventeen Neglected Tropical Diseases catalogued by the World Health Organization, which affect millions of people in the world. These are diseases that feed the cycle of poverty, which are its cause and consequence, and make the struggle against inequality insurmountable.

These are diseases that are preventable, curable and affect mainly children. If not treated promptly they can cause disfigurement and amputations and the lesions are visible for life, causing a huge stigma for those who suffer from them.

We fight against the Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected Tropical Diseases

Photo: Ana Palacios

At ANESVAD we work with local organizations and governments to address these diseases together. With an approach based on human rights, involving all the links of the chain we seek to achieve a greater impact through a comprehensive strategy that necessarily involves working under the umbrella of the Primary Health Care (PHC) strategy with the aim of improving the level of health of the entire community. So, we are committed to a fairer and more equitable distribution of resources, not only health resources, but also other socio-economic resources which are determinants to health, mainly education, drinking water, hygiene, sanitation and food. We also incorporate throughout all our projects the perspectives of gender, disability, multiculturalism and environmental sustainability, placing special attention to their links to the Right to health.

Photo: Ana Palacios

This work to prevent and control the NTD is an integral part of our commitment to Universal Health Coverage, whose objective is to ensure that all persons receive the health services they need, without having to undergo financial hardship to pay for them.

Millennium Development Goals, ANESVAD and the Forgotten Diseases

At ANESVAD we are committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as an agent of change. Goal 3 aims to ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages, and includes in this goal the neglected tropical diseases, the core area of action of ANESVAD.

Photo: Ana Palacios

The fact that the Neglected Tropical Diseases have been included in the SDG is without doubt good news due to the progress that it implies with respect to the Millennium Development Goals which did not include them. The SDG do not point to certain diseases, and have a broad health objective adopting as a target the achievement of Universal Health Coverage overcoming inequalities in access to health from a global point of view, not only by country. Despite that, the work that has been done to curb the progress of these diseases in the countries most affected has allowed for the improvement of the health of thousands of people. In 2012, according to the World Health Organization, more than 800 million people had access to health and received preventive treatment for at least one of the 17 diseases.

The World Health Statistics report published by the WHO this year highlighted that the policies of many countries are still very far from achieving universal health coverage in health services, measured in accordance with a rate of access to 16 essential services. Social rights and deficiencies that are more visible in regions of Africa where many people who need to receive medical attention suffer from the so-called "catastrophic health expenditure", defined as the direct health costs that exceed 25% of the total expenditure of the family economy and that puts them in greater poverty.

The 2016 World Health Statistics offer an overview of the most recent annual data in connection with the health targets of the SDG, and in particular, in relation to the NTDs, the figures still demand answers:

  • 1700 million people need treatment against neglected tropical diseases in 185 countries
  • 1800 million people drink contaminated water and 946 million people defecate in the open
  • More than 2.7 million people need care and treatment for diseases such as leprosy, Buruli ulcer

The interventions in relation to neglected diseases such as those which ANESVAD implements in Benin, Ghana or Ivory Coast require the start-up of several actions:

  • 1.

    Water, hygiene and sanitation

    Water, hygiene and sanitation are fundamental when it comes to combating and preventing the neglected diseases affecting the most marginalized and poor people living in areas of extreme poverty without access to minimum conditions of hygiene. In these communities there are no sources of drinking water, they don't know what a tap is, nor a toilet. Furthermore, once we install sources of water and toilets we have an impact on education, we have to show them good hygiene practices and show them how to improve their health by using clean water and toilets.

  • 2.


    The diseases which we work with occur the most vulnerable and poor contexts, places where there is a health care personnel shortage. That is why it is essential to work on their motivation, to expand their knowledge to ensure the best care for the sick people. In all our projects we incorporate not only the training of health personnel, but also for the first link of the chain, the health promoters. These are people who live in communities that receive minimum knowledge in order to be able to help their neighbours. Furthermore, through the awareness and information activities in the communities, we also work on the early detection of the diseases, which reduces their impact in the sick people as they can get treated earlier. All these activities strengthen the health systems. Only in this way can we guarantee the sustainability of the interventions and achieve our ultimate goal: real and lasting changes so that the living conditions improve of the people for whom we work.

  • 3.

    Treatment, care and rehabilitation

    Once the disease is detected, we strive to ensure that all persons receive the same treatment, wherever they are or whatever the level of the disease, all persons have the same rights. That is why we guarantee the complete treatment which covers the hospital admission if necessary, the supply of medicines, food and even school support in the case of children, who are those mainly affected by these diseases. We also assume the management of the most serious cases, which require surgical intervention and subsequent rehabilitation in order to recover the mobility of the affected limbs and reduce the stigma and the physical and mental sequelae left by these diseases.

  • 4.

    Supply of medicines and equipment

    At ANESVAD we support the supply of medicines to the health centres to ensure that all the sick people receive their treatment. Although the Buruli ulcer is a disease whose method of transfer is still unknown, there is an antibiotic combination that heals the people affected in the early stage. Since 1995 there is also a free treatment to combat leprosy and in the case of the yaws, recent discoveries allow for the cure of people affected through a single dose of azithromycin, an antibiotic that is common to cure ailments such as pharyngitis.

  • 5.

    Entrepreneurship and social reinsertion

    For many of the communities and the regions affected by these diseases, their origin is mystical and has to do with curses. This means that all too often, the sick people are rejected by their neighbours, which even affects their families. That is why information and awareness are essential, to provide those places with information necessary so that they can understand that it is a health issue that requires treatment. If this does not happen the consequences are fatal: it perpetuates poverty and the stigma and rejection cannot be avoided. To achieve that those who used to be sick recover their lives and have the possibility of working and having income, we develop activities of entrepreneurship and social reintegration in our own centres and with associations of those who have recovered.


We fight against the Buruli ulcer

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