• Beyond WHO’s List of Neglected Tropical Diseases

    From mental illness to the nodding syndrome: giving a voice to people suffering from underreported diseases

Traveling to northern Uganda to the home village of Joseph Kony—the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army—in order to visit a family of which 5 out of 24 children suffer from a mysterious disease called Nodding Syndrome. Going to a rural area in Madagascar to chat with a young woman about her experiences with postpartum depression and exorcism, and then visiting the one and only psychiatric hospital of the country. Accompanying a scientist through Kibera—the largest slum in Nairobi—to find the "hotspot" of typhoid fever...

These are just three moments that Fransiszka Badenschier experienced when working on the project Africa's Frogotten Diseases – Beyond WHO’s List of Neglected Tropical Diseases in 2014.

Antibiotic resistances, epilepsy, mental illnesses, nodding syndrome, and typhoid fever are five diseases or health conditions that occur especially in the developing world and are neglected, not well known, or even not well understood. And they even are not part of WHO's List of Neglected Tropical Diseases due to several reasons.

This project takes us to Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Uganda; the production of a radio series and further coverage sheds a light on these "Forgotten Diseases." The aim was and still is to raise awareness in Germany and elsewhere, so that people learn that public health in developing countries is more than just malaria, an issue often covered in the media and in policy and public discussions. This project gives people a voice who suffer from these little known, and underreported diseases and health problems--people such as kids suffering from Nodding Syndrome and Malagasy people seeking help in the one and only psychiatric hospital of Madagascar.

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Project information

  • Locations
    Gulu - Uganda, DSM - Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, Taolagnaro - Madagascar
  • Duration
    5 months
  • Release date
    August 2014
  • Budget
    € 18200
  • Round