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Center Receives 2006 Gates Award for Global Health

Washington, D.C….The Carter Center received the 2006 Gates Award for Global Health from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation during the Global Health Council's 33rd Annual International Conference on Global Health recently held here.

Bill Gates, Sr., co-chair of the Gates Foundation, presented the $1 million award -- the world's largest prize for international health -- to John Moores, chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Carter Center June 1. Former President Jimmy Carter, co-founder of The Carter Center, addressed the conference's closing plenary session June 2.

Read Mr. Gates' speech.

"For more than two decades, The Carter Center has worked to control and eradicate diseases that afflict the poorest of the poor," said Bill Gates, Sr. "I have seen first-hand the extraordinary impact of The Carter Center's health programs. This award is a tribute not only to the leadership of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, but also to the Center's very competent and dedicated staff."

The Gates Award for Global Health honors extraordinary efforts to improve health in developing countries. The Carter Center was selected from more than 60 nominees by a jury of international health leaders in recognition of its pioneering work to fight neglected diseases such as Guinea worm, river blindness, trachoma, schistosomiasis, and lymphatic filariasis.

"I am honored to accept this award on behalf of our staff, partners, and volunteers, and most importantly, the people we serve," said Jimmy Carter. "Together with our partners, we can win the battle against preventable diseases and unnecessary suffering."

Dr. Nils Daulaire, president and CEO of the Global Health Council, which coordinates the selection process and presentation for the Gates Award, praised the Center for overcoming "seemingly impossible obstacles."

"Before The Carter Center began its work, diseases like Guinea worm and river blindness were seen as intractable - a fact of life in the world's poorest countries," he said. "The Carter Center has turned conventional wisdom on its head, and reminded the world that seemingly impossible obstacles can be overcome with the right combination of innovation, dedication, and community involvement."

Founded in 1982, The Carter Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to advancing human rights and alleviating human suffering worldwide. One program, the Carter Center Guinea Worm Eradication Program, has helped to reduce cases of the disease from an estimated 3.5 million in 1986, to just 10,674 in 2005. Guinea worm is expected to become the second disease, after smallpox, to be eradicated worldwide, and the Center also expects to eliminate river blindness in the Americas by 2010.

The Carter Center's global health achievements to date include:

  • Reducing the incidence of Guinea worm disease by 99.5 percent
  • Delivering more than 75 million treatments for river blindness
  • Establishing more than 4,000 community-based prevention programs for trachoma, the largest preventable cause of blindness
  • Leading campaigns to control and treat lymphatic filariasis and schistosomiasis, and
  • Training health workers needed to serve 90 percent of Ethiopia's population

About the Gates Award for Global Health

The Gates Award for Global Health was established by Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000, to recognize exemplary work in international health.

Previous recipients of the Gates Award include the African Medical and Research Foundation for improving health in some of Africa's poorest communities (2005); the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee for community-based health programs (2004); the Brazilian National AIDS Program for its integrated approach to HIV prevention and treatment (2003); the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International for contributions to polio eradication (2002); and the ICDDR,B Center for Health and Population Research in Bangladesh for the discovery of a rehydration therapy that has saved millions of lives (2001).


Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to reduce inequities and improve lives around the world. In developing countries, it focuses on improving health, reducing extreme poverty, and increasing access to technology in public libraries. In the United States, the foundation seeks to ensure that all people have access to a great education and to technology in public libraries. In its local region, it focuses on improving the lives of low-income families. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chairs William H. Gates Sr., Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates.

On the Internet:
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
The Carter Center,
Global Health Council,

Fighting the Forgotten Diseases

"The Carter Center has a long history of shining a light on health conditions that besiege the developing world. Now it's close to eliminating one."

Watch the award presentation video. Read related USA Today article >>

Read the presentation speech by Bill Gates, Sr. >>

Global Health Council Photos

Dr. Donald R. Hopkins (second from left), associate executive director of the Carter Center's Health Programs, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter are joined by Nils Daulaire, president of the Global Health Council (left) and Bill Gates, Sr. (right) during the award celebration.

John Moores (right), chair of the Carter Center's Board of Trustees, accepts the 2006 Gates Award for Global Health from Bill Gates, Sr.

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