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As part of his annual win-a-trip series, New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof traveled to Sierra Leone with recent graduate Maddie Bender to “boosting interest among young people in global issues that don’t always get the attention they deserve.” Here they spoke with community members and learned about lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis. Without treatment, the disease can cause devastating, swelling, resulting in immense pain, disfiguration, social stigma, and loss of income.

Here is an excerpt:

The good news is that elephantiasis, the disease that caused Kana to be accused of witchcraft, is on its way out. This is the only district in Sierra Leone where the disease is still endemic, and the horror it evokes may soon be a memory. Credit for elimination goes in part to Helen Keller Intl, a nonprofit that is working to eliminate it and other tropical diseases.

Read the full New York Times article here. And read Kristof’s win-a-trip concluding article offering optimism for the future and organizations to support, like Helen Keller Intl.

To learn more about our work to eliminate lymphatic filariasis in Sierra Leone, read our photo essay.

For decades, Helen Keller Intl has been a major partner in the fight against eliminating neglected tropical diseases like elephantiasis, partnering with country governments to host mass drug campaigns and village health screenings, to both treat and prevent disease effects.

Earlier this month, we announced the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem in Mali.