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Carter Center Featured Partner: Noor Dubai

The Carter Center Health and Peace Programs appreciate the continued support of our foundation, government, and corporate donors and are pleased to highlight their contributions in these regular Web features.

Featured March 2009

The Carter Center and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) are excited to announce a new partnership with Noor Dubai in the fight against onchocerciasis. Noor Dubai is an international charitable initiative whose mission is to realize a world free of curable forms of blindness. Founded in September 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Noor Dubai is an effort to honor the Holy Month of Ramadan as a time of charity, social awareness, and community solidarity.

With the support of Noor Dubai, LCIF and The Carter Center will distribute needed medication to a total of 4.95 million persons in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Cameroon. Approximately 3 million persons will be treated in Ethiopia for onchocerciasis, where there are an estimated 5.5 million persons infected. In Uganda, a further 1.5 million persons will be treated. In Cameroon, LCIF, The Carter Center and three other nongovernmental organizations will treat 450,000 persons.

Onchocerciasis is a parasitic infection endemic to Africa, parts of Latin America, and the Middle Eastern country of Yemen. Nearly 37 million people are infected with the disease, of which approximately 300,000 have been blinded. The onchocerciasis parasite is transmitted by a black fly that breeds near rivers, thus the disease is often referred to as river blindness. Onchocerciasis causes various skin ailments and, if the parasite invades the eye, the infection can lead to low vision or blindness. Annual doses of ivermectin, a drug manufactured and donated by Merck & Co., Inc., as Mectizan®, prevent further progression of visual disabilities and blindness and lessen the frequency of transmission.

Since 1996, LCIF has been collaborating with The Carter Center to fight river blindness and provide hope to those at risk of contracting the disease. The foundation is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International, the world's largest service club organization with 1.3 million members and clubs in 205 countries and geographic areas. The effort is part of the foundation's mission to preserve sight through surgeries, eye hospitals, health care training, and advocacy.

With the generous support from partners like Noor Dubai, it is possible to prevent onchocerciasis and the vision damage it causes among millions of people, contributing positively to the stability, independence, and economy of endemic villages. Noor Dubai, LCIF, and The Carter Center are dedicated to the goal of stopping river blindness, one village at a time.

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