Millions will be spared future suffering thanks to efforts of The Carter Center and Nigeria's Ministry of Health to address widespread neglected diseases such as Guinea worm, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, river blindness, trachoma, and malaria. The Center also has supported efforts to build democracy and peace in this nation.
Since its independence from Great Britain in 1960 until its historic presidential election in 1999, Nigeria was under military rule for all but 10 years. For three decades, the country suffered from unfettered corruption and ethnic violence. After the death of dictator General Sani Abacha in June 1998, General Abdulsalami Abubakar rose to power and instituted democratic reforms. He legalized political parties, political prisoners were released, and the press operated unhindered. The Carter Center was invited to observe elections called for February 1999.
Nigeria has one of the highest burdens of disease in Africa. In 1988, the government of Nigeria invited The Carter Center to begin Guinea worm eradication programming in the nation. Subsequently, The Carter Center has established six more health programs in the nation.