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Corporate Volunteers to Help Assemble 30,000 Medical Kits for Sudan, Ghana, and Nigeria (Press Release)


CONTACT: Emily Staub
The Carter Center
Phone: 1-404-420-5126
Fax: 1-404-420-5145

ATLANTA.... More than 300 corporate volunteers and members of the diplomatic community in Atlanta will join Carter Center staff July 13-30 to assemble 30,000 medical kits to use in the effort to eradicate the last 1 percent of Guinea worm disease left in the world.

The medical supplies, donated by Johnson & Johnson, will be sorted into medical kits to be distributed to volunteer health workers in Sudan, Ghana, and Nigeria, the three most endemic countries. Each medical kit will allow volunteers to care for 10 people who suffer from Guinea worm disease, allowing children to return to school and parents to work.

"This remarkable demonstration of corporate and personal caring is putting the best face of America forward around the world. By helping to prevent the terrible and unnecessary suffering caused by Guinea worm disease, this project will help to make life better for some of the most forgotten people in the world," said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, chair, The Carter Center.

Organizations providing donations or volunteers to support the assembly of the medical kits include (in alphabetical order): Atlanta Bread Company Airport - Atrium, LLC; BellSouth Corporation; British Consulate General; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chick-fil-A, Inc.; The Coca-Cola Company; Consulate General of Canada; Consulate General of France; Consulate General of Japan; Delta Air Lines; DeKalb Medical Center's Cancer Survivors Group; EndosPromo, LLC; Health Students Taking Action Together; The Home Depot, Inc.; ING; Johnson & Johnson; Kimberly-Clark Corporation/Kimberly-Clark Health Care; Krispy Kreme Doughnuts; Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency; RARE Hospitality International, Inc./Longhorn Steakhouse; Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University; Selig Enterprises; Southern Company; Sudan Lost Boys Foundation; Theragenics Corporation; Ulster Project-Atlanta; UPS; and WSB-TV.

Assembled medical kits will be distributed to Guinea worm volunteers in areas where medical attention is most needed, primarily regions without medical centers. (Read more about village volunteers such as Santino Luka Madiria in the Bahr el Ghazal zone of southern Sudan.)

One medical kit will be distributed with each of 12,000 backpacks printed with the message "Stop Guinea Worm Now - Ask Me How." Eighteen thousand additional kits will be used to replenish supplies. Each kit will be organized in a clear plastic resealable bag and will include KLING fluff roll, STERI-PAD gauze pads, NU-GAUZE general use sponges, and Littauer suture removal scissors. Tylenol Extended Relief® and Savlon antiseptic liquid will be shipped directly to Carter Center field offices in Accra and Khartoum to be added to the kits by volunteers in Africa.

"The medical kits are basic, but their impact in the field will be powerful, providing scarce treatment tools and raising public awareness," said Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben, technical director of the Carter Center's Guinea Worm Eradication Program. "Those who are entrusted with the Guinea worm medical kits have a high status as both caregivers and leaders in their communities."

Although supplies and assembly have been secured, the Center is accepting donations to help ship the crucial medical kits and replacement supplies. Shipping costs are estimated at USD$10 per medical kit, and at, members of the general public can provide a tax-deductible contribution for shipping.

With less than 1 percent of the disease remaining, Guinea worm is expected to be the first parasitic disease to be eradicated and the first disease to be eradicated without vaccines or medications. It is contracted when people consume stagnant water, contaminated with microscopic water fleas carrying infective larvae. Inside a human's abdomen, the larvae mature and grow, some as long as three feet. After a year, the worm slowly emerges through a painful blister in the skin, usually on the lower limbs. In highly endemic areas, infected people usually have more than one Guinea worm, in some cases dozens, emerging at once. (Learn more about the Guinea worm eradication effort.)

The Carter Center and its partners teach people about the origin of the disease and how to prevent it, provide cloth filters and pipe filters to make water safe for drinking, and treat the symptoms and pain associated with the disease. Since 1986, Guinea worm disease has been reduced by more than 99 percent, from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986 to approximately 32,000 cases in 2003. With 13 of the original 20 endemic countries free or nearly free of Guinea worm disease, it remains only in West Africa and Sudan. Ghana is the most endemic Guinea worm country in West Africa, second in the world only to Sudan, which has 63 percent of remaining cases. Together, Sudan, Ghana, and Nigeria currently account for 94 percent of all reported cases of Guinea worm disease worldwide.

Members of the general public can visit to follow the daily progress of the project as well as support the program.

Editor's note:
Reporters who would like to cover the medical kit assembly project should contact Emily Staub in advance to confirm their participation and plan access to the site. Photographs and footage available upon request.
Cell phone: 678-595-0341

Project Details
WHAT: Production of 30,000 medical kits
WHEN: Tuesday, July 13 - Friday, July 30 (weekdays)
8 a.m. - 12 p.m. (Breakfast provided)
WHERE: Selig Warehouse, 1375 Seaboard Industrial Boulevard,
Atlanta, GA 30318


The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. Visit to learn more about The Carter Center.

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