Carter Center-supported countries in 2016 surpassed 500 million doses of medication distributed since 1996 to fight neglected tropical diseases.
“Half a billion is an amazing milestone, and it’s well worth celebrating,” said Dr. Frank Richards, who heads up the Center's programs to combat river blindness, schistosomiasis, and lymphatic filariasis. “Even more worth celebrating is the impact that we are having from those treatments. You can’t begin to calculate the good that’s been done.”
Kelly Callahan, director of the Center's Trachoma Control Program, agreed, saying the milestone symbolizes the Carter Center's core values:
“It’s not about the number,” she said. "It’s about helping. It’s about caring. It’s about worrying about people and their quality of life. … It’s about people working together to ensure that we all strive for a better world."
What does it take to get half a billion doses into the hands (and mouths) of people in remote, rural places in Africa and Latin America?
It takes Carter Center staff. We have close to 1,000 staff members across multiple continents coordinating the distribution of remedies and preventative treatments for a set of diseases that are ignored or overlooked. The Carter Center provides training and materials that empower local people to solve their own challenges.
It takes commitment from federal ministries of health. The Carter Center only goes where it's invited. Governments decide to make their citizens' health a priority and work with The Carter Center to create effective programs and support them by providing supplemental resources and personnel.
It takes community volunteers. Regular folks who care about their communities come out by the thousands, time and time again, to help ensure their neighbors receive the medications that will alleviate suffering and prevent disease in future generations. Over 300,000 volunteers are involved in Carter Center assisted efforts.
It takes generous corporate partners. A number of companies — Merck, GSK, Pfizer, Merck KGaA, BASF, Johnson & Johnson, Vestergaard, Clarke, and Abbott — have made long-term commitments to provide medications, filters, insecticide-treated bednets, laboratory equipment and other products essential to our work.
And it takes trust. The only way these programs can work is if millions of individuals place their trust in partnerships. The Carter Center values its role as a good partner in this important work to help save and improve the lives of others.
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