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The Carter Center — River Blindness in the Americas

“We believe good health is a basic human right, especially among poor people afflicted with disease who are isolated, forgotten, ignored, and often without hope.”
— Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

Global Health connects everyone and affects the stability and prosperity of growing nations. Healthy people with food in their stomachs and hope for the future are more likely to work together to build a better tomorrow.

The Carter Center has been working to build hope in the most impoverished and forgotten communities since 1982. One of their most successful programs has been the effort to eradicate River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) in the Americas.

Brought over by slaves from Africa, the disease is spread by infected black flies that live near the river. The larvae enter the body through fly bites and mature into adult worms. The offspring of the worms swarm under the skin and infect the flies when they bite. If they enter the eyes the result is inflammation and irritation which can cause diminished vision and potential blindness.

Today there’s hope for these communities, thanks to Merck - and a drug called Mectizan. With the generous donation of Mectizan, there’s a real possibility of eradicating the disease in the Americas in 2006/2007.

With the generous donation of Mectizan by Merck, and through the partnership with the Lions Clubs International Foundation, The Carter Center has provided more than 75 million doses of drug treatment to communities suffering from the devastating and blinding effects of river blindness in Africa and the Americas. Thanks to these efforts there’s a real possibility of eradicating the disease in the Americas in 2006/2007.

For more information go to www.cartercenter.org.


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