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Real Lives, Real Change: River Blindness Elimination Program

Tiny Tablet Makes Huge Difference in this Woman’s Life

Cordelia Anude wears a stylish metal cross pendant, a symbol of the faith that sustains her. However, it wasn’t so long ago that she felt distanced from God and from her fellow believers. An advancing case of river blindness had impaired her vision, making it impossible to walk to church on Sunday or study her Bible at home. Learn More

#CommittedtoChange Mosaic

President and Mrs. Carter thank the many people who showed their support to advance the Carter Center's campaign in the MacArthur Foundation's 100&Change competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that promises to solve a critical problem of our time. The Center proposes a bold plan to eliminate river blindness disease in Nigeria, creating a model for the rest of Africa and the world. Learn More

Meet Okechukwu Obodo

Okechukwu Obodo is a widower who is well into his 70s. He lives in a one-room dwelling that is so orderly he can immediately tell when anything is out of place, and he’s good at building a fire for cooking — not bad for someone who’s been blind for 15 years. Learn More

Carter Center’s Nigeria Director Sees Challenges and Crushes Them

In many cultures, a person’s name carries significant meaning and may even be thought to describe one’s destiny. In the Southeastern region of his native Nigeria, Dr. Emmanuel Miri’s name means "water" and "life," and few names could be more appropriate for the man who directs the Carter Center's health programs in that country. Learn More

Under the Microscope: Sudan’s High-Tech Onchocerciasis Lab

It’s a sweltering morning in Khartoum, Sudan. The temperature inside the sage-green corridors of the National Health Laboratory building is only slightly below that in the dusty parking lot outside, and the elevator is out of service. Learn More

100&Change: Ask Me Anything!

Join us Tuesday, June 13, at 11 a.m. EDT for a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat, co-hosted by The Carter Center and the MacArthur Foundation. Dr. Frank Richards, who directs the Carter Center’s programs on river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis, will answer your questions. Learn More

IN the SPOTLIGHT: Frank Richards is a Man on a Mission

From Guatemala to Nigeria and beyond, Dr. Frank O. Richards Jr. has dedicated most of his adult life to freeing people from the miseries of river blindness. He has been director of the Carter Center’s River Blindness Elimination program since its inception in 1996. Learn More

Story Map | Hope for a Healthy Nigeria

With two states in Nigeria on the brink of wiping out river blindness, the Center is stepping up efforts. Learn More

Committed to His Community: Gabriel Ani, the Best CDD in Nigeria's Enugu State

Gabriel Ani, a 40ish farmer and schoolteacher, is the Carter Center-trained community drug distributor in Ndiulo Village, Aninri Local Government Area, Enugu State, southeastern Nigeria. Learn More

Carter Center Slideshow: Kinship Powerful in River Blindness Fight

When it comes to eliminating disease, sometimes it’s not only what you know, it’s also who you know. River blindness is so pervasive in Africa that many global experts have believed it could only be controlled, not eliminated. But Uganda intends to rid itself of the parasite that causes the disease, and it’s using one of its greatest resources to do it: women. Learn More

Meet Christine Akello: A Civil War Survivor Fighting for Sight

Christine Akello thought she was safe. Having survived about three decades of civil war and displacement in Uganda, she thought she had seen the worst. Learn More

Saving Sight, One Person at a Time

Peter Onuchukwu is a subsistence farmer who has lived all his life in the farm community of Ibu in Okigwe local government area of Nigeria. He is only 65 years old, but ever since 2006, he has been unable to see the lush green leaves on his farm or the yields hanging from his Orange tree just a few feet from his doorsteps in Imo state, southeastern Nigeria. Learn More

Meet Christopher Olanya: Winning the War on River Blindness

Christopher Olanya, now in his 60s, has survived the brutalities of war, the trauma of displacement, and the ravages of disease in his native Uganda. He has become an unlikely symbol of hope in the mission to eliminate onchocerciasis, a parasitic infection commonly known and feared as river blindness. Learn More

Meet Peace Habomugisha: Focused on Success in Uganda

Peace Habomugisha has an office in Kampala, Uganda, but it's usually empty. As the Carter Center's representative in Uganda, Habomugisha typically can be found out in the field, keeping the river blindness program on track. She makes sure health workers are distributing medication in the right doses at the right times and health education is being delivered effectively. Learn More

Carter Center Slideshow: Simple Measures, Big Results

A leader in the eradication and elimination of diseases, The Carter Center is fighting six preventable diseases — Guinea worm, river blindness, trachoma, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria — by using health education and simple, low-cost methods. The following slideshow illustrates some of the fundamental tools and approaches used by The Carter Center to help build a healthier and more peaceful world. Learn More

Carter Center Slideshow: Ugandan Lab Tests Blood, Flies Nonstop

At the Carter Center's field office in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, a busy scientific laboratory is devoted to a single cause: the surveillance, and ultimate elimination, of river blindness. Learn More

Alidu Kemisa: Treatment Relieves Agony of River Blindness

Alidu Kemisa cannot seem to stop rubbing her arms and touching her head as she describes the symptoms that have plagued her for more than ten years: pain, intense itching, and roughening of her skin. Learn More

Adaptation Key in Director's Fight Against Parasites

In Guatemala 25 years ago, on a coffee farm situated at the slope of a volcano, Frank O. Richards Jr., M.D., sat under a thinly thatched roof talking with an old man. Chickens foraged on the dirt floor, and a mangy dog slept in the corner. Learn More

Meet Dr. Nabil Aziz Mikhail: Tireless Warrior Against Guinea Worm Disease, River Blindness in Sudan

Ask about the time he nearly died from cerebral malaria during a Guinea worm surveillance trip, or his supervisory visit to a town under siege, or the nights he spent stuck in a car with no food, little water, and once with three flat tires, and Dr. Nabil Aziz Mikhail will tell you he doesn't like to sit in his office Learn More

The Carter Center at 30: Leader in Disease Eradication and Elimination

he Carter Center has become a global leader in the eradication and elimination of diseases, focusing efforts to build health and hope in some of the poorest and most isolated places on earth. Learn More

Real Lives Real Change: Meet Dr. Zerihun Tadesse Gebrelassie

Zerihun Tadesse Gebrelassie barely remembers his mother rushing his baby brother to a hospital in Ethiopia. Many patients, long lines, and few health workers made her wish she had a relative — maybe one who was a nurse — who could help her son. His little brother survived, but Dr. Zerihun says his mother never forgot that scene. Learn More

Chiapas Families Help Stop River Blindness

On a warm spring day in the state of Chiapas, villagers in the small hamlet of Jose Maria de Morelos walk uphill on the town's only paved road to reach a small complex of school buildings. But today is not a school day; today, the river blindness elimination brigade is meeting at the school. Learn More

Meet Jozefa Ortiz Rosa: Medication Restores Sight, Brings Hope to Grandmother

When Jozefa Ortiz Rosa of Tarrales, Guatemala, started losing her vision, she worried about her future. Her husband had died years before, leaving her with six children to raise and a coffee crop to tend. Her older children had taken over the farming, but she still needed to care for her younger children and grandchildren. Learn More

As River Blindness Declines, Health Education Intensifies

Standing in the courtyard of his school in El Xab, Guatemala, his eyes blindfolded, a boy swings a large pole toward a flyshaped piñata. Schoolmates cheer for the boy, who looks about 9 years old. His friends hope that one well-placed strike will smash the fly, releasing oodles of candy. The adults in charge hope the children leave with something more than a handful of treats. Learn More

Miracle Medicine Mends Nigerian Tailor's Eyesight

38-year-old Zaki Baushe holds a thin metal needle in his left hand as he deftly angles a thread through its eye. As a tailor in Akwanga local government area, Nasarawa State, Nigeria, it is an act that he has repeated thousands of times throughout his life. Yet several years ago, Baushe was in danger of losing this skill entirely. Learn More

Making Inventions Out of Necessity to Fight River Blindness

The late afternoon sun has begun to set as Philippe Nwane, 38, carrying a long plastic tube, walks slowly through a sweet potato field near a remote village in western Cameroon. He approaches a local stream and finds what he has been hunting for all afternoon—a spot where hundreds of buzzing black flies thicken the air. Learn More

Video Journal: Pioneering Approach Brings River Blindness to Brink of Elimination in Sudanese Community

Abu Hamad, a vast and isolated desert community 500 kilometers from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, is on the verge of disproving a long-held belief among public health professionals that river blindness (onchocerciasis) cannot be eliminated in Africa due to poor health care delivery and the disease's prevalence. Learn More

Integrated Drug Treatment Saves Time, Money in Nigeria

Over the past three years, The Carter Center, in partnership with the Nigeria Ministry of Health, has introduced an innovative way of simultaneously treating several parasitic diseases in Nigeria. In this approach — known as triple-drug treatment — a health worker gives a community member three different medicines at one time that in combination treat river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and several kinds of intestinal worms. In the interview that follows, Frank Richards Jr., M.D., who directs the Center's programs for fighting these diseases, discusses the benefits of the triple-drug approach. Learn More

Meet Teshome Gebre: Lion of Disease Prevention in Ethiopia

Teshome Gebre, the Carter Center's country representative for health programs in Ethiopia, likes to joke that he has been in public health service for what seems like 100 years. Yet, it's impossible to ignore the great joy Teshome has received from a lifetime dedicated to fighting disease in his native Ethiopia. Learn More

Profile From the Field: Mauricio Sauerbrey, M.T., M.Sc., Ph.D.

If passion is a key ingredient for success, then Dr. Mauricio Sauerbrey embodies the necessary "stuff" for meeting the goal of interrupted transmission of river blindness — or onchocerciasis—in the Americas by 2012. Learn More

Meet Alba Lucia Morales: Health Educator Fills Critical Role in Onchocerciasis Elimination

For Alba Lucia Morales Castro, health education adviser with the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA)--the Carter Center-sponsored river blindness elimination organization in Latin America--the joy of working in the field is its own reward. Learn More

Uganda Attempts Nationwide Elimination of River Blindness

River blindness is such a pervasive disease in Africa that many global experts believe it can only be controlled not eliminated. But Uganda has announced plans to rid the disease, despite hefty challenges. The country's Ministry of Health officials believe that eliminating the disease will be more cost-effective than continuing control efforts indefinitely for its estimated 2 million citizens at risk. Learn More

Pitasia Gonzales: Treatment Gives Hope for Grandchildren's Future

Pitasia Gonzáles lives in rural Mexico with her daughters, in a home surrounded by coffee fields accessible only by foot. Like many of the women in her community, Gonzáles was a strong and capable provider for her family, until river blindness (also known as onchocerciasis) stole her sight many years ago. Learn More

Welcomed Home, an Outcast Begins to Heal

Today, a visitor to the Mbale district of eastern Uganda might see Mustafa Mugwano happily plowing his fields in the lush farming village of Bunawazi. But two years ago, he would have been found living alone in the forests bordering the village. Mugwano survived there for more than 10 years after having been turned away by his community. Learn More

I Sold My Roof: Farmer's Hope for Grandchildren Includes Futures Free from River Blindness

The rolling, lush landscape of the Ethiopian countryside surrounded the straw and mortar shelter. Inside, Ababora Abajobar, 70, sat in the thick-walled darkness. His weathered hands perched upon his walking stick, his blue socks neatly folded around his scarred shins. Learn More

New Malaria Program Blankets Areas of Ethiopia with Bed Nets

This article was originally featured in the 2007 Spring issue of Carter Center News Ethiopian farmer Mamo Tesfaye is no stranger to disease. Four years ago, he could only sit idly outside his home as the growing season came and went. Afflicted with river blindness, he could not see well enough to work his land or provide for his children. But soon after, The Carter Center began distributing the drug Mectizan®, which prevents the disease and even reverses its effects, in his village of Afeta. Today, Tesfaye surveys his land from behind his two brown oxen as he plows his fields. Learn More

Carter Center Slideshow: Mectizan® Brings Hope to Millions

Since 1996, The Carter Center’s River Blindness Program has assisted in the delivery of more than 100 million treatments of Mectizan® (donated by Merck Inc.) and conducted health education in 11 endemic countries in Latin America and Africa. The Center is leading the drive to eliminate this blinding parasitic disease where it occurs in the Americas by 2015. Learn More

Many Forgotten Diseases, One Integrated Approach

To help combat neglected tropical diseases suffered by millions of people, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $10 million to fund two groundbreaking Carter Center initiatives in Nigeria. Learn More

Dr. Emmanuel Miri: 'Dr. Water' Pours New Life into Rural Nigerian Communities with Carter Center Health Programs

His name means "water" and "life" in the Southeastern region of his native Nigeria, and perhaps no name could be more appropriate for Dr. Emmanuel Miri, resident technical adviser for the Carter Center's health programs in Nigeria. Learn More

Staffer Reflects on OEPA Successes, River Blindness Partnerships in Mexico

The Carter Center is the sponsoring agency for the regional coalition OEPA (Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas). The coalition works to eradicate onchocerciasis - also known as river blindness - in the Americas through semi-annual distribution of the safe and effective oral microfilaricide ivermecin (Mectizan®), donated by Merck & Co, Inc. Learn More

Carter Center Technical Adviser Moses Katabarwa: Proving Kinship Counts in Global Public Health

The son of an area chief in the former Ankole Kingdom, Moses Katabarwa learned early the importance of family, community, and grassroots action, dedicating his life to improving the well-being of his fellow Ugandans. Learn More

Innovative Approach to Disease Control Multiplies Results

Imagine a nation almost half the size of the United States where large portions of the population are sick -- not with just one disease but several at once. Such is the daily reality for those living in Nigeria, a nation with one of the highest burdens of disease in Africa. Learn More

Volunteer Plays Key Role as River Blindness Health Promoter: Making Time to Protect a Community and Fight Disease

Working long hours caring for one of Guatemala's largest coffee plantations and managing six children would leave most people little time to volunteer. Jose Maria Pos, 41, thought the same thing when the Mitzimal farm manager asked him to become the community's river blindness (onchocerciasis) health promoter. Learn More

Clear Vision Is in Their Future: Combating River Blindness in the Americas

The women of the extended Ramirez family—Lisa, Martha, Maria, Anna, and Yesenia—range in age from 16 to 52 and have been involved with the Carter Center's effort to eliminate onchocerciasis, or river blindness, for a collective total of 25 years. Learn More