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Miss Universe Organization, Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases Join Forces to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Americas
Date:9/22/2009

NEW YORK, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is proud to announce a new partnership with the Miss Universe Organization aimed at educating millions across Latin America and the Caribbean about the need to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases across the region.

Miss Universe titleholders will spend time in their home countries participating in education and mass drug distribution campaigns aimed at protecting people from NTDs, and preventing their spread. The Miss Universe Organization's and Global Network's shared goal is to raise awareness and help end the neglect of NTDs in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2014. More than one billion people worldwide living on $1.25 a day suffer from NTDs, trapping them in an unending cycle of poverty.

"The Miss Universe Organization is so widely respected for its charitable work around the world, and the Global Network is incredibly excited for their support in raising awareness of NTDs in Latin America and the Caribbean," said Kari Stoever, Managing Director of the Global Network. "With the work of Miss Universe contestants and others across the region, we can meet our goal of reducing and eventually eliminating the disease burden caused by NTDs in Latin America by 2014."

There are currently more than 230 million people across the Americas suffering from these disabling, disfiguring and sometimes deadly diseases. Miss Universe's participation in this effort will shed a significant light on the impact neglected tropical diseases have on maternal and child health. NTDs--particularly intestinal worm infections--and malaria commonly cause anemia, which afflicts more than half of all children and pregnant women in developing countries and is a primary cause of death and disability.

"The Miss Universe Organization's worldwide reach at a grassroots level easily lends itself to the objectives of The Global Network," said Paula Shugart, President of the Miss Universe Organization. "At our initial meeting, I was shocked to learn the seven most common NTDs can be treated for approximately 50 cents per person per year. I am confident the advocacy of Miss Universe Titleholders in Latin America and the Caribbean will shine a light on the efforts of the Global Network and greatly assist them in reaching their objectives. We are honored to be a part of this initiative."

ABOUT THE GLOBAL NETWORK

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is an advocacy initiative dedicated to raising the awareness, political will, and funding necessary to control and eliminate the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) -- a group of disabling, disfiguring, and deadly diseases affecting more than 1.4 billion people worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day. For more information, visit: www.globalnetwork.org

ABOUT THE MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION

The MISS UNIVERSE(R), MISS USA(R) and MISS TEEN USA(R) Pageants are a Donald J. Trump and NBC Universal joint venture. Utilizing its nationwide grass roots infrastructure, the Miss Universe Organization is committed to increasing HIV/AIDS awareness by focusing on women's health and reproductive issues. By forging relationships with organizations committed to research and education such as the Latino Commission on AIDS, God's Love We Deliver, PSI/YouthAIDS and Gay Men's Health Crisis. For more information, visit: www.missuniverse.com


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SOURCE Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases
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