Where the Roads End at United Nations
A special screening and discussion with the film makers and UN experts on tackling neglected tropical diseases, part of the broader efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The documentary Where the roads end follows young Spanish Doctor, Oriol Mitjà, who travels from Spain to an island on the other side of the world (Papua New Guinea), where he ends up making one of the most important medical discoveries of the last few decades: an easy and cheap medical treatment that could eradicate a neglected tropical disease worldwide: yaws. Transmitted by skin contact and mainly affecting children, yaws causes skin ulcers, bone deformation and intense pain, and is endemic in many regions of Africa, South America, South East Asia and some areas in the Pacific. It affects more than 40 million people around the world.
After 3 years of intense work and research, Dr. Mitjà demonstrated for the first time the efficiency of a specific treatment to cure this disease: a simple antibiotic pill commonly used in Western countries was effective to fight this tropical disease. A new strategy for the complete eradication of yaws has been triggered. The World Health organization (WHO), after assessing the potential of these findings, has prioritized it and established a goal: to eliminate the disease by the year 2020. In the case that this treatment works successfully, yaws will be the second disease, only after rubella, completely eradicated in the world.