The historic indifference to neglected diseases limits the potential of children and diminishes their quality of life.
Critical investments in global health research focused on neglected tropical diseases are needed to replace indifference with action in places like Vietnam, Nicaragua, Mexico, the Philippines and more. Two specific UBS Optimus Foundation programs are addressing often overlooked causes of excess morbidity and mortality among children, dengue fever and rabies. Determination against Dengue
Dengue infections, which are widespread in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, are a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children in several countries. The World Health Organization identifies dengue as the most important mosquito-borne viral disease in the world and estimates that nearly three billion people in more than one hundred countries are at risk of dengue infection.Dengue was once called “breakbone fever” because of the intense joint and muscle pain and debilitating headaches it causes. Though it has a relatively low death rate, its patients sometimes require constant, careful monitoring, making it among the costliest diseases in endemic countries. With an estimated fifty million new cases per year, dengue is one of the most widespread infectious diseases of the tropical region and it has become more common and more virulent during the past fifty years. Still,
relatively little is known about the basic mechanisms of the disease. Experts still do not know why some patients develop severe infections while for others the disease is relatively mild. The Foundation is supporting dengue research projects to enhance understanding of this disease. Funds are being used to improve prevention and treatment. Additional community-based programs will inform and empower communities so they can protect themselves from dengue infection.Reducing the risk of rabies
UBS Optimus are also working to protect children from rabies Every day approximately 150 people, most of them children, die from rabies. Rabies has the highest case fatality rate of any infectious disease known to humans and it causes the prolonged and painful death of a child every fifteen minutes. The Philippines ranks among the top ten countries worldwide for human rabies. In response, the Foundation has invested in a project aimed at eliminating canine and human rabies on the Philippine island of Bohol. The project was led in the Philippines by the Alliance for Rabies Control, an organization that used a combination of public education campaigns, dog control and dog vaccination in what was a very successful program. The island is now free of rabies and the children of Bohol are protected from this dangerous disease.
About the Foundation
The UBS Optimus Foundation is a charitable, grant-making foundation established by UBS in 1999 and dedicated to improving the health and development of children in measurable, cost-effective and sustainable ways. They focus on the most critical needs of children – their health, their cognitive and social development and their protection from neglect and abuse. Since its inception, the UBS Optimus Foundation has supported strategic projects in more than seventy countries. These investments, all of which are wholly funded by UBS clients, have improved the lives of children and facilitated their development into healthy, empowered and productive adults. UBS supports all administrative and wage costs associated with the UBS Optimus Foundation. Thus, one hundred percent of client donations benefit programs that nurture children and enrich their lives.