In 2006, the Legatum Foundation committed US$ 8.9 million to combat seven NTDs in Rwanda and Burundi using two new concepts of treatment delivery.

WHAT ARE NTDs? The Facts:

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of infectious diseases that inflict suffering and chronic disability on 1 billion of the world’s most impoverished people.

NTDs reinforce poverty. They persist in impoverished communities where people have limited protection from insects and animals that spread disease and where access to medical care and prevention education is extremely limited.

3 billion people are at risk of neglected tropical diseases.

1.5 billion already has at least one.

500,000 people will die by the end of each year from these diseases.

Hundreds of willing partners are standing by ready to scale up their work to see the end of these diseases by 2020.

And for just 50 cents per person per year, we can ensure that people at risk get the donated medicines they need to treat these devastating diseases.

In 2006, the Legatum Foundation committed US$ 8.9 million to combat seven NTDs in Rwanda and Burundi using two new concepts of treatment delivery. The first was to use mass drug administration (MDA) for up to seven diseases, dispensing four drugs that were donated or subsidised. The second was to scale up to a national programme level, integrating all the various NTD providers and equipping the government to coordinate this national MDA programme. In addition to treating multiple diseases simultaneously in co-infected people, other interventions included education and awareness, training and equipping of health workers, and community mobilisation. This approach was radically different than the traditional single-disease funding.

Encouraged by the early success of the Rwanda and Burundi programmes during 2007, the Legatum Foundation started researching the possibility of significantly expanding this work to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. As western governments, such as United States and United Kingdom, and private foundations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recognised the threat NTDs posed to health, education and economic activity in Africa, more public and private money became available.

Legatum's early grant to Burundi and Rwanda, the first integrated programme of its type, also catalysed the creation of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an organisation dedicated to advocating publicly for increased funding for NTDs.

The results from Legatum's programmes indicated that an NTD grant was one of the most high impact public health interventions. With so little attention on the issue, Legatum decided to seed a new private initiative that would focus exclusively on NTDs and seek to mobilise further resources and advocate for more public funds to be directed towards the disease set. Thus at the beginning of 2012, the END Fund was born.

The five most common NTDs are: soil-transmitted helminthiasis (hookworm, ascariasis, trichuriasis), schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchoceriasis and trachoma. Together, these diseases account for up to 90% of the global NTD burden. Children, women and those living in remote areas with limited access to effective health care are most vulnerable to NTDs and their consequences.

Dr peter Hotez

These worms keep populations mired in poverty. They thwart poverty reduction like no other type of infection can."

Dr Peter Hotez
President, Sabin Vaccine Institute; Chair, END Fund Technical Advisory Board; Founding Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine


2006 – The Legatum Foundation commits US$ 8.9 million to combat NTDs in Rwanda and Burundi using two new concepts of treatment delivery.

2007 – Programmes get underway in Rwanda and Burundi.

2008 – Encouraged by success, the Legatum Foundation begins research programme on expanding to other countries in Africa.

2009 – Conversations begin with partners in the NTD space about forming a private philanthropic fund with donors as co-funders, catalysts, and decision makers.

2010 – The END Fund concept is developed, with the Legatum Foundation acting as anchor donor.

2011 – The END Fund becomes an independent legal entity, registered in the US and UK. Geneva Global is appointed to serve as charity administrator and grant manager. International and technical advisory boards formed. Fundraising commences.

January 2012 – London Declaration. WHO publishes a roadmap to overcome the impact of NTDs by 2020.

April 2012 – Ellen Agler is appointed as CEO of The END Fund.

June 2012 – Official launch of The END Fund.

October 2012 – The END Fund responds to an urgent funding need in Mali to ensure medicines are delivered to millions of people throughout the country.

2014 – The END Fund impacts over 75 million people since its launch. 

2015 - The END Fund, alongside the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the UK aid agency DFID, and a range of other private donors, partner with The Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) to launch their National School-Based Deworming Programme to treat 16.5 million children.

2016 - The END Fund treats over 100 million people in 2016 through mass drug administration initiatives.

2017 - The END Fund releases it's 5-year impact report, showing that over 500 million treatments have been handed out, 1.1 million health workers have been trained and 11,584 surgeries have been performed between 2012-2017. 

2018 - The END Fund estimates that, with their partners, they have treated more than 120 million people with over 230 million treatments valued at approximately $345 million. In addition, over 600k health workers were trained. 

2019 - The END Fund's CEO, Ellen Agler, releases a book titled Under the Big Tree, which tells the extraordinary stories from the movement to end Neglected Tropical Diseases. The book's foreword is written by Bill Gates, a huge supporter of the END Fund. 


The END Fund

The END Fund is the world's first private philanthropic initiative to combat the five most common NTDs that, together, cause up to 90 percent of the NTD burden. Supported by a group of global philanthropists, The END Fund provides financing for nationwide disease control initiatives, creating new programmes, supplementing existing ones, and using matching funds to extend and deepen the impact.

The END Fund was founded in 2012 with a goal of reaching 100 million people and the control or eradication of the most prevalent NTDs in the world. In its first year the Fund mobilised over US$ 18 million, reaching 15 million people in Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Namibia and Mali. 

In Mali the bilateral donors were forced to pull out due to the restrictions placed upon them by their governments, which left a programme that had already treated 11 million people facing cancellation. Ellen Agler, the CEO of the END Fund, was able to build a consortium of private donors consisting of foundations, individuals and corporations that were able to rise to the challenge and step forward where governments had been forced to step back. The result was the continuation of the programme and improved health for many millions of people.

The Fund is chaired by Bill Campbell whose family Foundation were key early investors in the initiative. For more information about the END Fund, please go to

Neglected tropical diseases inflict suffering and chronic disability on 1.5 billion of the world's most impoverished and marginalised people. 500 million of these are children. They cause pain, illness and even death, but they also keep children out of school, and rob people of their productivity.

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