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Disease-Elimination Celebration Lights Up the Town

  • Seri village in Nigeria celebrates World NTD Day. (Photos: The Carter Center/H. Muazu)

  • Seri village in Nigeria celebrates World NTD Day.

  • Seri village in Nigeria celebrates World NTD Day.

  • Seri village in Nigeria celebrates World NTD Day.

  • Seri village in Nigeria celebrates World NTD Day.

  • Seri village in Nigeria celebrates World NTD Day.

Press Release: Landmarks Light Up for Disease Awareness

Seri village in Nigeria’s Plateau State marked World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day 2022 with a celebration that featured the lighting of hundreds of orange glow sticks. The village in Kanke Local Government Area (LGA) joined about 100 other locales around the world that illuminated buildings and landmarks in orange to raise awareness of the fight against NTDs. 

The Carter Center’s work against NTDs in Seri and in Kanke LGA goes back a long way.

Mass drug administration in Kanke LGA for river blindness, a parasitic disease transmitted by black flies, began in 1993. Carter Center-trained village volunteers administered doses of Mectizan® (donated by Merck & Co. Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA) every year through 2017, when Plateau — and Nasarawa State next door — became the first two states in Nigeria to interrupt transmission of river blindness. Studies in 2019 and 2020 showed that this achievement persisted, and the two states became the first in Nigeria to eliminate river blindness altogether.

Another NTD, lymphatic filariasis, also was a big problem in Kanke LGA. Blood assays in the early 2000s showed Seri village was one of the most endemic places in Nigeria for the mosquito-borne disease, which can cause immense swelling of the limbs and genitals. As many as 62% of residents and 11% of mosquitoes were at one time infected with the parasite that causes the disease, often called LF.

LF can be eliminated through years of diligent mass drug administration and the use of bed nets to ward off mosquito bites.

Assisted by The Carter Center, Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health began mass drug administration with Mectizan and albendazole (donated by GSK) in 2001. That work continued through 2012, when epidemiological studies showed that prevalence of LF in humans had dropped by 95%. After four years of surveillance, follow-up studies showed that LF infection was gone in both humans and mosquitoes in Seri. That’s part of a broader success story in Plateau State, where LF has been eliminated as a public health problem – the first achievement of its kind in Nigeria, the world’s second-most at-risk country.

  • Community drug distributors receive training from The Carter Center in Kanke LGA, Plateau State, Nigeria, in 2014. (Photo: The Carter Center/T. Saater)

In addition to helping administer drugs, The Carter Center assisted in the distribution of more than 172,000 mosquito nets (donated by Clarke Mosquito Control/Clarke Cares Foundation) in Kanke LGA in 2010. The nets not only help protect against LF, but also help prevent malaria, a deadly disease transmitted by the same type of mosquitoes.

Since 2013, The Carter Center−assisted River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Programs in Nigeria have received partial support from USAID’s ENVISION and Act to End NTDs−East programs, both led by RTI International.

All this good news gives Seri village in Kanke LGA reason to celebrate with a warm orange glow.

Related Resources

Carter Center Celebrates the Third Annual World NTD Day »

Learn more about the Center's River Blindness Elimination Program »

Learn more about the Center's Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program »

Learn more about the Center's work in Nigeria »

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