where we work


Waging Peace

In the 20th century, Carter Center representatives met with leaders in Brazil as part of a fact-finding tour to prepare for the consultation "Agenda for the Americas for the 21st Century."

+Exploring a Hemispheric Agenda

Carter Center representatives met with leaders in Brazil as part of a fact-finding tour to prepare for the 1997 consultation "Agenda for the Americas for the 21st Century." The delegation included former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; Rosalynn Carter; Dr. Robert Pastor, then director of the Center's Americas Program; and Dr. Jennifer McCoy of the Americas Program. The mission, which included stops in Argentina, Chile, and Jamaica, helped to set the agenda for discussions at The Carter Center.

In May 2009, former President Carter, with a Carter Center delegation, visited Sao Paolo, where he received the Ordem do Ipiranga, Brazil's highest civilian award, in recognition of the Carter administration's work on human rights and democracy promotion in the region.  In addition, the delegation traveled to Brasilia, where they met with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to discuss the upcoming 2010 presidential election.

Fighting Disease

The Carter Center is working with the Ministry of Health of Brazil and other partners to stop transmission of river blindness in the Amazon rainforest on the border between Brazil and Venezuela, in the final phase of an international effort to eliminate this disease from Latin America.

+Eliminating River Blindness

Current Status: Transmission ongoing

Brazil is one of two remaining countries in the Americas with transmission of onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness. Brazil's only river blindness transmission occurs in a portion of the Amazon rainforest. Along with an adjacent part of Venezuela, it comprises the Yanomami Focus Area (YFA), a contiguous transmission zone straddling the border. The migratory, indigenous Yanomami people who reside there move fluidly from one side of the border to the other and are exposed to the parasitic disease in their daily activities. Providing them medicine and health education is a complex endeavor as the area is remote, densely forested, and insecure. Consequently, the YFA is the last place in the Americas where transmission still occurs.

The final stage of any eradication or elimination campaign is always the most challenging, and the YFA is no exception. In response, The Carter Center’s Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA) encourages and assists in the development and implementation of novel strategies complementary to the basic plan of mass drug administration (MDA) two to four times per year with good coverage. These approaches include using boat-based supply chains to go upriver to reach the Yanomami; the clearing and rehabilitation of old landing strips to allow fixed-wing aircraft access to some communities that are otherwise unreachable; enhanced technical approaches to tracking program progress by community; and the training and deployment of indigenous health agents (IHAs).

OEPA continues to make notable progress toward its goal of eliminating river blindness transmission throughout the YFA. In fact, 61% of communities there have received 20 or more rounds of successful high-coverage treatment, which means that transmission in these communities is suspected to be interrupted. In partnership with the country programs, we strive to make river blindness a thing of the past.

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