Mobile MSF exhibits tour Europe and US raising awareness about neglected diseases in developing countries
MSF has launched a mobile exhibit to raise awareness about the lack of access to essential medicines in developing countries. A joint international effort, the exhibit was named "TRAPPED - Neglected Diseases, Forgotten Lives", and its world tour was launched in Paris on June 14, 2001. TRAPPED is role-play, facts, images and voluntary activism rolled into one, mounted on wheels for easy transport to different countries and regions.
TRAPPED focuses on four neglected diseases: sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, malaria and tuberculosis. Millions of people suffering from these diseases in developing countries do not have access to treatment because the necessary drugs don't exist, their production has been stopped, or the drugs are available but they are archaic or toxic and kill a high percentage of the patients taking them. HIV/AIDS is presented in the exhibit because it illustrates another obstacle to treatment: the fact that existing medicines are not affordable for the majority of the people who need them.
Following a coded path through the exhibit, visitors will learn more about real people sharing the same fate, about diseases that are neglected by pharmaceutical companies and governments alike, and about treatment options which are often limited in developing countries.
Exhibit without borders
MSF has constructed four identical exhibits, three for use in Europe and one for the United States. The four trucks will travel to more than 60 cities in eleven countries around the world during the next few months - amounting to more than two years of interaction with the public in different countries.
There are many ways for the public to help improve access to medicines in developing countries. In the US, Germany, Italy and Spain, MSF is asking the visitors to send letters or postcards to politicians and pharmaceutical companies urging them to increase resources and investment into developing drugs for neglected diseases. This way, MSF's supporters and visitors become advocates: they will be part of a growing and active network of people around the world working for access to treatment regardless of a person's ability to pay.
To learn more about where the TRAPPED exhibits are touring and what they are like, click on the following links to other MSF websites:
This is what visitors in different countries have said about the exhibit:
"It is incredible how getting infected with leishmaniasis opens your eyes to the real suffering of other people. Keep fighting the ignorance. I will help however I can." Andrea / Rome, Italy
"If these diseases were to hit Florence, all necessary drugs would be made available…! Thank you for this initiative." Mario, Beppe, Elena and Andrea / Florence, Italy
"The exhibit is wonderful in its simplicity: as an unaware citizen of a fortunate western country, I was thrown inside another world for 15 minutes. I don 't know the details of what you do for people in Burundi, Cambodia or Ethiopia, but I do know what you did for me today." Maria / Rome, Italy
"It is shocking to get to the treatment room and learn that there is no chance of getting treated. It is great to know that someone is trying to do something about this." Julia, Jamina, Henning, Stefan and Guido / Ulm, Germany
"You dive into a completely different world through the images and acoustic effects in the exhibit. It is good that diseases such as leishmaniasis, which are largely unknown in the West, are focussed on - before I visited the MSF exhibit, I didn't even know how to pronounce the name of the disease." Thilo Voll / München, Germany