Agler is leading an international effort to eliminate a problem that shouldn’t exist: neglected tropical disease (NTD). Her organization has taken aim at five debilitating and sometimes fatal afflictions—including river blindness and intestinal worms—that are fully preventable and treatable but still affect more than 1.5 billion people worldwide. NTD is a bit of a misnomer, Agler notes. It’s not the diseases that are neglected, but the people who suffer from them.
The End Fund works with NGOs, governments, and private philanthropists to direct resources and coordinate their efforts. This approach has worked wonders: Between 2012 and 2018, it resulted in more than 724 million treatments and the training of 1.8 million health workers.
In April, the End Fund received more than $50 million from donors as part of the Audacious Project, a philanthropic initiative that backs organizations tackling the world’s most pressing problems. The money will help accelerate the elimination of intestinal worms in four African countries. That will give vulnerable populations, who miss out on school, work, and other life events when they suffer from worms, a chance to thrive.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of countries involved in the End Fund’s intestinal-worm elimination project.