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Canada Donates $3 Million Toward Eradication of Guinea Worm Disease


CONTACT: Emily Howard
In Atlanta, 404-420-5126

OTTAWA....The Honourable Susan Whelan, Canada's minister for international cooperation, announced today that Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency, will contribute $3 million over three years to The Carter Center to help eradicate Guinea worm disease in Africa.

"Guinea worm is a debilitating disease, the effects of which reach beyond a single victim," said Minister Whelan. "Often people are unable to work, which can cripple agricultural production and cause food shortages.

"Working through The Carter Center, Canada's support will make a significant difference to the lives of the sufferers and to the communities in which they live."

Founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of the United States Jimmy Carter, and his wife, Rosalynn, The Carter Center is committed to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering. It is the lead partner of the international campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease, an ancient disease which today exists in remote rural areas of 13 countries in Africa.

There are no medications to treat this disease. Its eradication depends on educating the population about the disease, what causes it, and how it is transmitted. The Carter Center leads and coordinates the international effort in training local health workers, providing effective educational material and ensuring that all drinking water is filtered properly and that water treatments are undertaken.

"The government of Canada is proud to work with The Carter Center in its efforts to eradicate this disease," said Minister Whelan. "We commend the tremendous work The Carter Center does in providing the essential ingredients for a successful eradication campaign."

"By working to eradicate diseases like Guinea worm, we are helping millions of poverty-stricken people see how they can make improvements in their own lives," said Dr. Donald Hopkins, associate executive director for health programs at The Carter Center. "Since 1986, there has been a 98 percent reduction in Guinea worm disease worldwide, and with the support of partners like Canada, we are getting very close to wiping this disease from the face of the earth."

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2003 federal budget and is, therefore, built into the existing fiscal framework.


Learn more about the Guinea Worm Eradication Program.


The Honourable Susan Whelan, Canada's minister for international cooperation, joins Dr. John Hardman, executive director of The Carter Center, at the June 18 presentation in Ottawa.
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