The Carter Center, through the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas, has been working in Ecuador since 1996 to eliminate river blindness disease in the nation and throughout the Americas. At the country's invitation, since 1998 the Center also has monitored elections, helped combat government corruption, and facilitated dialogue with neighboring countries.
In the last decade, Ecuador underwent major institutional and democratic transformation. In this context, The Carter Center was extended an invitation in 2007 by the government of Rafael Correa to participate in several efforts, including the accompaniment of the Constituent Assembly process as well as the facilitation of a citizen dialogue process between Ecuador and Colombia.
Latin America has made great strides to control river blindness, so that now — provided treatment and health education initiatives continue — permanent blindness from the disease is no longer a threat. Yet, until two decades ago, those who suffered from this painful and devastating disease had no hope for treatment.