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Carter Center Featured Partner: The Sultanate of Oman

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. To view donor lists, click links at right.

The Sultanate of Oman

The Carter Center is honored to recognize the generosity of the Sultanate of Oman in its continued support of the Guinea Worm Eradication Program. A recent donation of U.S. $1 million to the program represents an ongoing commitment of Oman to those living in remote villages in sub-Saharan Africa who are affected by this devastating disease.

Oman has been a respected partner in The Carter Center's fight against Guinea worm disease, providing an initial $1 million grant in 2004 to support the Guinea Worm Eradication Program for two years. A second $1 million donation was delivered to President Carter on February 23, 2010, by Her Excellency Ambassador Hunaina Sultan Al-Mughairy on behalf of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. This generous contribution will be matched one-to-one as part of a $40 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The challenge grant is the largest in the Carter Center's history; it includes an outright contribution of $8 million and encourages donor organizations and individuals to provide an additional $32 million that will be matched dollar for dollar by the Gates Foundation.

Guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis) is poised to be the second disease eradicated from the Earth, after smallpox, ending needless suffering for millions of people. The disease is contracted when people drink water contaminated by copepods harboring infective Guinea worm larvae. Once ingested, these larvae develop in the human host for approximately one year. The threadlike worm grows to a length of up to three feet that emerges from the patient's body through a blistering sore on the skin. Removal is extremely painful and debilitating, causing economic loss and social disruption, as children often can not attend schools and farmers can not tend their crops while the worm is emerging. Since the Guinea Worm Eradication Program began in 1986, disease prevalence has been reduced by 99.9 percent. In 2009, only 3,190 cases remain in four endemic African countries--Sudan, Ghana, Mali and Ethiopia. In the final stage of eradication, swift case containment and a responsive surveillance system are key factors – an effort that requires the continued generosity of our partners.

The new $1 million grant from Oman will support program activities during fiscal years 2011-2013, including the provision of water filters and health education to empower people to protect themselves from Guinea worm transmission. Other interventions include treating ponds with ABATE®, a safe larvicide donated by BASF Corporation, and advocating for the provision of safe drinking water.

Setting a noble example for governments worldwide with its unwavering service to humanity, the Sultanate of Oman is committed to improving global health and wellbeing. Past donations include $50 million to the post-war reconstruction effort in Lebanon in 2006, and $10 million to rehabilitation assistance for the dislocated population in Afghanistan in 2009. Oman also supports child-oriented programs in developing countries.

Substantial progress toward Guinea worm eradication has been made by The Carter Center and its charitable donors such as Oman, but the final push for eradication requires our unwavering focus and commitment. We hope that one day in the near future some of the most disadvantaged people in the world can live peacefully without the burden of this disease-- a hope that must first outlive the Guinea worm.

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All photos: Carter Center

A young boy holds a pipe filter used to protect him from Guinea worm disease.  Pipe filters are distributed to nomadic tribes whose lifestyles require lightweight technology for disease prevention.

A truck in Southern Sudan carries water filters and other supplies to a village affected by Guinea worm disease. Only four Guinea worm disease-endemic countries are left in the world.

On Feb. 23, 2010, Her Excellency Ambassador Hunaina Sultan Al-Mughairy delivered a $1 million check to President Carter for the Carter Center's Guinea Worm Eradication Program. The Sultanate of Oman has been a valued partner in the fight against Guinea worm disease.

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