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Press Releases: River Blindness Elimination Program

Read the latest news below about the Carter Center's work around the world.

Carter Center Celebrates Assisting 500 Million Doses against Diseases in 14 Countries

The health programs of The Carter Center have surpassed a major milestone: The organization on Nov. 4 celebrated assisting with the distribution of 500 million doses of donated medication to combat five neglected tropical diseases in 14 countries in Africa and Latin America. Learn More

Guatemala Becomes Fourth Nation in Americas to Eliminate River Blindness

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center congratulate President Jimmy Morales and the people of Guatemala for eliminating onchocerciasis (river blindness) in the nation, as verified recently by the World Health Organization (WHO). Learn More

Uganda Announces Milestone in River Blindness Elimination Goal

Uganda has successfully freed 821,230 people, the largest number to be freed from river blindness globally based on the latest WHO guidelines. This has expedited the process of achieving its goal of eliminating river blindness (onchocerciasis) nationwide by 2020. At its peak, the vector-transmitted parasitic worm caused eye and skin disease in 37 districts in Uganda, with about 6.7 million people at risk. Learn More

Carter Center Names Dean Sienko as New Vice President for Health Programs

Dean G. Sienko, M.D., M.S., has been appointed vice president for health programs at The Carter Center, effective June 2016. Learn More

Carter Center Congratulates Winners of Nobel Prize for Medicine

The Carter Center and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter congratulate the winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine, who discovered drugs that have prevented needless suffering for countless millions of people. Learn More

Newest Victory in Onchocerciasis Elimination: Mexico

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center congratulate President Enrique Peña Nieto and the people of Mexico for eliminating onchocerciasis (river blindness) within its borders, as verified recently by the World Health Organization (WHO). Mexico is the world's third nation to receive official verification of elimination of the disease. Learn More

International Coalition Urges Final Push to Eliminate River Blindness from the Americas

The Carter Center, PAHO/WHO, and the Mectizan Donation Program of Merck & Co., Inc., known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, are part of a coalition of organizations helping countries in the Americas fight river blindness (onchocerciasis) and are calling for a final push to definitively eliminate transmission of the disabling disease from the Western Hemisphere. Learn More

Carter Center Statement: President Jimmy Carter Meeting with Nicolás Maduro, President of Venezuela

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met with Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro Moros in New York City today to discuss the status of the campaign to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) from the Americas. Learn More

Philanthropist Sir Emeka Offor Donates $10 Million to Accelerate Jimmy Carter's Efforts to Help Eliminate River Blindness in Nigeria

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and businessman Sir Emeka Offor signed an agreement today for a partnership to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) from seven states in Nigeria where The Carter Center works with the Federal Ministry of Health, including Sir Emeka's native state, Anambra. Learn More

Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease on View at the American Museum Of Natural History Beginning Jan.13

The challenges of eradicating devastating diseases are enormous, but successful strategies can bring about enormous social and economic benefits. Opening at the American Museum of Natural History on January 13, Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease explores the factors that determine if a disease is eradicable — meaning that it can be wiped out completely — as well as the scientific and social innovations that are ridding the world of ancient afflictions. Learn More

Jimmy Carter and Carlos Slim Announce New Partnership to Help Eliminate Last Vestiges of River Blindness in the Americas

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Mexican businessman Carlos Slim announced today a partnership to assist the regional initiative working with six countries in the Americas to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis): Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Venezuela. The announcement comes as the Mexican government celebrates eliminating transmission of river blindness nationwide, joining Colombia, Ecuador, and Guatemala. Learn More

Jimmy Carter e Carlos Slim anunciam nova parceria para ajudar a eliminar os últimos vestígios de cegueira dos rios nas Américas

O ex-presidente dos Estados Unidos Jimmy Carter e o empresário mexicano Carlos Slim anunciaram hoje uma parceria para ajudar a iniciativa regional com ações em seis países nas Américas para eliminar a cegueira dos rios (oncocercose): Brasil, Colômbia, Equador, Guatemala, México e Venezuela. O anúncio foi feito ao mesmo tempo em que o governo mexicano comemora a eliminação da transmissão da cegueira dos rios em todo o país, juntando-se a Colômbia, Equador e Guatemala. Learn More

Jimmy Carter y Carlos Slim anuncian una nueva alianza para ayudar a eliminar los últimos vestigios de la oncocercosis en las Américas

El ex Presidente de los EE.UU. Jimmy Carter y el empresario mexicano Ing. Carlos Slim anunciaron hoy una alianza para colaborar con la iniciativa regional para eliminar la ceguera de los ríos (oncocercosis) que incluye seis países en las Américas: Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, México y Venezuela. El anuncio viene en un momento en que el Gobierno mexicano celebra la eliminación de la transmisión de la ceguera de los ríos a nivel nacional, uniéndose a Colombia, Ecuador y Guatemala. Learn More

Carter Center and Pan American Health Organization Congratulate Ecuador as Second in the Americas to Achieve Elimination of Onchocerciasis (River Blindness)

The Carter Center and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) congratulated Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and the people of Ecuador for their country becoming the second in the world to achieve elimination of onchocerciasis (river blindness), as verified by the World Health Organization (WHO). Learn More

Eradication Efforts Against Global Disease Are Focus of Countdown to Zero

The challenges of eliminating devastating diseases are enormous, but successful strategies can bring about colossal social and economic benefits. Countdown to Zero, a new exhibition about scientific and social innovations that are ridding the world of ancient afflictions, will open at the American Museum of Natural History on Jan. 13, 2015. The exhibition, developed in collaboration with The Carter Center, focuses on several global efforts that have been able to contain, eliminate, or eradicate disease. Chief among these is the 30-year campaign that may soon eradicate Guinea worm disease, positioning it to become only the second human disease ever eradicated, after smallpox. Learn More

Carter Center, Lions Clubs International Foundation Announce Expanded Partnership to Pursue Elimination of Blinding Trachoma and River Blindness in Four African Countries

During a ceremony held at the Carter Center's headquarters on May 15, 2014, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Lions Clubs International Foundation Chairperson Wayne Madden announced a US $8.8 million expansion of the Lions-Carter Center SightFirst Initiative to end suffering from major causes of preventable blindness in Ethiopia, Uganda, Mali, and Niger. Learn More

Clarification From The Carter Center on Sudan Activities

The Carter Center's long-standing support for the people of Sudan will continue through activities to advance peace, democracy, and health. The Carter Center's Health Program office continues to operate as it undertakes health promotion and disease prevention projects. Learn More

Carter Center Congratulates Colombia as First in the Americas to Eliminate River Blindness

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter today congratulated President Juan Manuel Santos and the people of Colombia for becoming the first of six countries in the Americas to eliminate river blindness. The official ceremony was held today in Bogotá. River blindness, also known as onchocerciasis, is a parasitic disease that can cause intense itching, eyesight damage, and irreversible blindness. Learn More

Carter Center Declares Goal: River Blindness Elimination

The Carter Center announced today that it will no longer only control river blindness, but instead it will work with ministries of health to eliminate it in all 10 countries in Africa and Latin America in the areas where the Center fights the neglected disease. Learn More

Uganda Interrupts the Transmission of River Blindness in Three More Areas (Part of Nationwide Elimination Targets)

Uganda has successfully interrupted the transmission of Onchocerciasis (river blindness) in three more foci in four districts: Kibaale (Mpamba-Nkusi focus), Maracha (Maracha-Terego focus) and, Mitooma and Bushenyi (Imaramagambo focus). Learn More

Uganda's Success Against River Blindness: An Inspiration for Africa and an International Challenge

The Carter Center congratulates Uganda for its historic achievement of interrupting transmission of river blindness disease (onchocerciasis) in several parts of the country, freeing hundreds of thousands from risk of this scourge. Learn More

The Carter Center Congratulates Latin American Countries for Major Strides Toward the Elimination of River Blindness

The Carter Center and its Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA) are pleased to congratulate three Latin American countries on their recent progress toward eliminating river blindness (onchocerciasis). Today at the sixteenth annual InterAmerican Conference on Onchocerciasis – sponsored by The Carter Center, the Pan American Health Organization, the Lions Clubs International Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – three of the six countries in the Americas that have historically suffered from river blindness announced the good news Learn More

The Carter Center Celebrates Transfer of Ethiopia Public Health Training Initiative to Ethiopia Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Education

After 13 years training more than 26,000 public health workers to help fill the gap in rural health services for 75 million Ethiopians, The Carter Center- assisted Ethiopia Public Health Training Initiative (EPHTI) officially has been transferred to Ethiopia's Federal Ministries of Health and Education. Established in 1997 at the invitation of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, EPHTI worked in partnership with seven Ethiopian universities and the Ethiopian government to improve the public health education system. Learn More

Donor Contributions Critical to Success of Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas

Standing in his school's courtyard in El Xab, Guatemala, a blindfolded boy swings a large stick toward an enormous piñata shaped like a fly. Though the scene is a cheerful one, the children are learning something meaningful about the power of their community and country to fight the debilitating disease river blindness (onchocerciasis), which is spread by the bites of black flies that breed in swiftly flowing rivers. Learn More

Public Health Officials Confirm Significant Progress Toward the Goal of Elimination of River Blindness in Latin America by 2012

Public health officials at the 20th Inter-American Conference on Onchocerciasis in Antigua, Guatemala, confirmed that more than one-third of all Latin Americans who ran the risk of contracting river blindness (onchocerciasis), a leading cause of preventable blindness, are no longer at risk. Learn More

Guinea Worm Eradication and River Blindness Elimination Receive Major Boost with U.S. $1 Million Donation from OPEC Fund: Signing Ceremony Takes Place at The Carter Center

oday, during a special ceremony in Atlanta, former U.S. President and Carter Center Founder Jimmy Carter received on behalf of The Carter Center two new pledges — $500,000 toward the Guinea Worm Eradication Program and $500,000 toward the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA) — from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), represented by His Excellency Director General Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish. Learn More

Abu Hamad First to Stop River Blindness Transmission in Sudan

The Sudan Federal Ministry of Health, with assistance from The Carter Center and Lions Clubs International Foundation, announced that the isolated desert area of Abu Hamad has stopped transmission of river blindness (onchocerciasis). Learn More

Ecuador Becomes Second Country in the Americas to Halt River Blindness Transmission Carter Center Hails Major Step Forward in Campaign to Rid Americas of Parasitic Infection by 2012; Urges Intensified Efforts in the Four Remaining Endemic Countries

Carter Center experts congratulate the people of Ecuador for breaking transmission of the blinding parasitic disease river blindness, or onchocerciasis. Ecuador is the second nation in the Americas after Colombia (in 2008) to stop the transmission of this debilitating, yet preventable affliction on a countrywide basis, according to officials of the Ministry of Health of Ecuador and the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program in the Americas (OEPA). Learn More

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Visits Last Stronghold of Guinea Worm Disease in Southern Sudan

In the dusty and remote village of Molujore, Terekeka County, Southern Sudan, food shortages are common, insecurity lingers, and survival is a daily struggle. Yet, important progress is being made in the effort to wipe out Guinea worm disease, resulting in the community being singled out for a visit from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Central Equatoria State Governor Clement Wani Konga, and Commissioner Clement Maring Samuel today to urge intensification of efforts to wipe out the waterborne parasitic infection during the next transmission season beginning in April. Learn More

African Health Leaders Honor President Carter and The Carter Center for 'Pioneering' Efforts Against Neglected Diseases

Health officials from 11 African countries have honored former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center for their "pioneering contributions to eradicating neglected tropical diseases in Africa." The leadership award was presented to Carter Center CEO Dr. John Hardman and Dr. Donald Hopkins, vice president of health programs, on April 22 in a Washington, D.C., event sponsored by Global Health Progress and ONE. Learn More

A Milestone Toward Ending River Blindness in the Western Hemisphere by 2012: Escuintla, Guatemala, Largest Endemic Area Yet to Stop Transmission

An international team of researchers led by Rodrigo Gonzalez of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala reports that the transmission of onchocerciasis or river blindness has been broken in Escuintla, Guatemala, one of the largest endemic areas in the Western Hemisphere to date to stop the transmission of the parasitic disease. Learn More

Pan American Health Organization Passes Resolution to Interrupt Transmission of River Blindness in Latin America by 2012

In an effort to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) from the Western Hemisphere, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an urgent call to interrupt the disease's transmission by 2012. Learn More

Carter Center, Partners, Celebrate 100 Millionth Mectizan® Treatment

The Carter Center's River Blindness Program, with its global partners, announced recently the 100 millionth treatment of Mectizan® since 1996. The drug, proven effective and safe in treatment and prevention of river blindness, also called onchocerciasis, is donated by Merck & Co., Inc. Learn More

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Sends Congratulatory Message to Ecuador's New Constituent Assembly

In a message to Ecuador's newly inaugurated Constituent Assembly, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter urged the constituents to use human rights as a basis for drafting a new constitution and encouraged them to seek a harmonious solution on the definition and implementation of their role in transforming the state's institutions. Learn More

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's Message for the Inauguration of Ecuador's New Constituent Assembly

Almost 30 years ago, when I assumed the presidency of my country and military dictatorships extended throughout Latin America, Ecuador inaugurated a wave of democratization that continues today. Human rights began to be restored as fundamental values, and slowly the countries of Latin America established democratic regimes. Learn More

Colombia is First Country to Interrupt Transmission of River Blindness

Colombia has become the first country to interrupt transmission of onchocerciasis (also known as river blindness) on a countrywide basis, according to officials of the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program in the Americas (OEPA). Learn More

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Discusses Malaria During Online Smithsonian Chat

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter participated in a live online chat June 28, 2007, to discuss malaria and the article "The Ethiopia Campaign - Jimmy Carter Takes on Malaria," featured in the June 2007 issue of Smithsonian magazine. Learn More

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Delegation Conclude Health Tour to Africa

ATLANTA…Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, with a delegation of senior-level Carter Center officials, concluded their two-week tour of Africa today. The Feb. 6-16 visit called international attention to health needs among impoverished communities in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Ghana. Learn More

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Visits Ethiopia to Address New Malaria Initiative; Lauds Country's Progress in River Blindness, Trachoma Control, Public Health Training

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter distributed long-lasting insecticide-impregnated bed nets today in Afeta, a community of 7,500 people in the Jimma zone. The symbolic action was part of the Carter Center's new malaria control initiative in Ethiopia, the largest and most populous country in the Horn of Africa. Malaria is Ethiopia's single largest cause of death. Learn More

Jimmy Carter and Jimmy Ross Recognize Sudan's New Local Lions Club as Crucial Partner in Country's Fight Against River Blindness and Trachoma

On Thursday, Feb. 9, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Lions Clubs International President Jimmy Ross encouraged Sudan's local Lions Club to participate in the fight against two blinding diseases affecting the country—river blindness and trachoma. The appeal comes during President Carter's multi-country tour of Africa to promote health issues affecting Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Learn More

Leading Global Health Organizations Receive $46.7 Million From Gates Foundation to Integrate Programs Fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases

The fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) received a major boost today with the announcement of five grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation totaling $46.7 million. The grants will support efforts to coordinate and integrate programs to fight key neglected diseases in developing countries. Learn More

Center Realizes $15 Million Challenge Grant for River Blindness

Halting river blindness in the Americas by 2007 has accelerated with the completion of a $15 million challenge grant to The Carter Center. Learn More

The Carter Center Appoints River Blindness Program Director

Atlanta....Frank O. Richards, Jr., M.D., has returned to The Carter Center after retiring from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March 2005. He returns as technical director for the River Blindness Program, Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program, and Schistosomiasis Control Program. Dr. Richards was seconded from CDC to the Center in 1996 with the launching of the River Blindness Program (onchocerciasis) and served as its technical director until 2002. Learn More

Lions International Donates $2 Million to River Blindness Eradication in the Americas (English and Spanish)

ATLANTA.... Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced today a $2 million gift from the Lions Clubs International Foundation to accelerate the Carter Center's efforts to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) in the Americas. The contribution will be matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of a challenge grant to help The Carter Center secure a total of $15 million to halt transmission of the disease throughout the region. Learn More

Merck Donation Accelerates River Blindness Elimination in the Americas

ATLANTA....Merck & Co., Inc., has donated $1 million to the Carter Center's effort to eliminate river blindness disease in the Americas in this decade. Learn More

Gates Foundation Awards Carter Center $10 Million to Fight River Blindness in Americas (English and Spanish)

ATLANTA....The Carter Center today announced it will escalate the fight to eliminate river blindness disease from the Americas in this decade with a $10 million challenge grant provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Learn More

Carter Center and Lions Celebrate River Blindness Milestone

ATLANTA. . . In the battle to fight a major cause of preventable blindness, the Carter Center's River Blindness Program and Lions Clubs International Foundation are celebrating the delivery of more than 50 million Mectizan® treatments in 11 countries in Africa and the Americas since 1996. Learn More

Final Report of the Conference on the Eradicability of Onchocerciasis

More than 60 international experts from a variety of disciplines convened at The Carter Center from Jan. 22-24, 2002, to address the question 'Is onchocerciasis (river blindness) eradicable with current knowledge and tools?' The conference, organized by The Carter Center and the World Health Organization, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, included presentations by expert speakers, deliberations in four working groups, and a plenary discussion of major conclusions. Learn More

Carter Center Receives $30 Million for Blindness Prevention

Atlanta, GA...The Carter Center announced today that it has received the largest project-specific cash grants in its history - totaling nearly $30 million over the next ten years – from the Lions Clubs International Foundation and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Learn More

Background of Carter Center Involvement in Sudan

The Carter Center has worked in Sudan since 1986, when its SG 2000 Agriculture program began working with farm families to increase the yield and quality of their crops. Led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug, SG 2000 helped Sudanese farmers increase wheat production by 500 percent in five years, growing from 157,000 tons in 1986-87 to 831,000 tons in 1991-92. Learn More

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