Media & Communications Professional
Vandita Sariya is from India and works in media and communications. She uses articles, doodles and videos to tell stories on environment, climate change, sustainability, freedom of expression, and citizen rights.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) run as a theme across her work. Currently, she is a media fellow at The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) reporting climate change in the Himalayan Region.
What inspired you to enter the World NTD Day Story telling competition?
I heard about NTDs the first time when I heard about the World NTD Day Story telling competition. It piqued my curiosity! I knew about a few diseases here and there but did not know that they are called NTDs and the reason behind it. The fact that these diseases existed only in certain parts of the world and can be eradicated compelled me to talk about it. Only when you know the problem, you will talk about it and will look for a solution. That’s why with this video, I want to spread awareness about NTDs.
Why does fighting NTDs matter to you?
Everyone I know or someone they know has suffered from dengue. It was astonishing to find out that in some parts of the world dengue does not even exist. That the deaths caused by dengue can be totally avoided. It matters to me because I realize that it can happen to anyone. To you, to me, to anyone, without any fault of that person. Fighting NTDs can transform the lives of many. And that is a reason big enough.
How do you intend on continuing the fight against NTDs after this competition?
Even after the competition submission, I kept reading more about NTDs, specifically the ones present in my country. As a media enthusiast, I write articles as well as make cartoons. I intend to do the same talking about NTDs in order to stir conversations about NTDs and raise awareness about them. I am currently on a look out for more projects like the Bindu Art School (featured in my video) so that the world can see that beating NTDs is not all that difficult if we all try together.
What would be your request to your country’s leaders regarding fighting NTDs?
As per a report, India ranks number one in 11 neglected tropical diseases. The first and foremost request will be to allocate the required funds, manpower and policy amendments needed to treat NTDs. India is home to an alarming percentage of NTDs.
Nationally, rigorous and repeated action is required at a local level.
Once, leprosy was declared eliminated in India. But pulling back funds and diverting manpower from leprosy has resulted in a major disaster. Leprosy re-emerged and now India has the highest number of new leprosy cases in the world as per WHO.