CEO Visit Spotlights Initiatives in Sudan

The Carter Center has a long history in Sudan — in fact, 70% of the country’s population hadn’t even been born when we started working there.

We began in 1986 by helping farmers improve crop yields. In 1995, we started assisting the government in the battle against Guinea worm disease and river blindness. In 1999, we took up the fight against the eye disease trachoma.

The Center has also worked to help bring peace to Sudan. President Carter negotiated the famous Guinea worm cease-fire in 1995, providing a six-month respite from civil war during which health workers were able to access conflict zones. We’ve observed elections and helped broker peace deals with neighbors. More recently, we’ve begun training young people to monitor the country’s transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander recently made her first trip to Sudan, spending a whirlwind week meeting staff and partners and witnessing both peace and health program activities. You can tag along with her in this video.

During the visit, Alexander:

  • Took part in the celebration of a major milestone in the Sudan Public Health Training Initiative — after nine years of Carter Center support, the Ministry of Health is now ready to take over the initiative, which helps medical institutions better train health workers to meet maternal and child health needs.
  • Visited a refugee camp where a Carter Center team was screening residents for trachoma.
  • Witnessed a surgery to reverse the painful, blinding effects of advanced trachoma.
  • Talked with young people about the revolution that ousted longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir and their hopes for their country’s future.
  • Toured a Carter Center-established laboratory where the government screens black flies for the parasite that causes river blindness.
  • Spoke at a ceremony announcing that we’ve expanded our Sudan portfolio to include lymphatic filariasis, a mosquito-borne disease that can cause debilitating swelling of limbs.
  • Visited the Kosti Academy of Health Sciences to meet with professors and students using supplies provided by the Public Health Training Initiative.

"What a privilege to spend a week in a country where The Carter Center has such a rich history," Alexander said. "All of us at the Center are committed to continuing to partner with the Sudanese people to improve health and build a sustainable democracy."

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