Project Zero is an ongoing series to raise awareness around neglected tropical diseases and efforts to fight them. At least 18 of these diseases affect more than 1 billion people worldwide — but they’re not on the public’s radar.

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Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect over one billion of the world's poorest people. More than 170,000 people die from NTDs each year, and many more suffer from blindness, disability, disfigurement, cognitive impairment, and stunted growth. Yet NTDs are treatable and preventable, and the annual cost of treatment is incredibly low.


In Under the Big Tree, public health leader Ellen Agler and award-winning writer Mojie Crigler tell the moving stories of those struggling with these diseases and the life-saving work that can be―and has been―done to combat NTDs. They introduce readers to people from all walks of life―from car washers in Lake Victoria and surgeons on motorbikes to under-resourced local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and Big Pharma scientists―as they chronicle what has been called the largest public health program in the world.


On the one hand, the solutions are simple: deliver medication to people who need it and leverage local systems to offer prevention, treatment, and education. On the other hand, solutions are complex: navigating local and national politics, delivering treatment to some of the most remote, vulnerable communities, and coordinating global and local donors, international NGOs, thousands of health workers, and millions of citizens.


Drawing on interviews with major players in the NTD world who share their cutting-edge research and frontline experiences, Under the Big Tree is a moving introduction to the science, the tactics, and the partnerships working to address these terrible diseases that affect the most vulnerable people in the world. With a foreword by Bill Gates, this book fascinates, inspires, and gives readers concrete steps for further engagement.