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Pfizer, Carter Center Celebrate Milestone in Global Campaign to Fight Trachoma

On Nov. 5, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter joined Pfizer Inc. CEO Ian Read at Pfizer headquarters in New York City to celebrate major progress in the global campaign against the blinding disease trachoma as the Center prepares to distribute its 100 millionth dose of Zithromax®, a Pfizer-donated antibiotic used to treat the disease.

"The Pfizer donation of Zithromax was momentous in trachoma control, and The Carter Center was pleased to go to scale in trachoma endemic countries to get the medicine into the villages and demonstrate the world could end blinding trachoma," President Carter said during a celebration with partners, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and Pfizer employees.

During the last 11 years, The Carter Center has provided treatments to trachoma-endemic communities in six African countries: Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Sudan, and South Sudan.

Watch President Carter talk about trachoma and other Carter Center health work on "Good Morning America."

President Carter spoke with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America" on Nov. 5, about The Carter Center's fight to wipe out trachoma and combat other neglected diseases. "No former president has served longer out of office or made such a mark against some of the world's most intractable problems," Stephanopoulos said as he introduced the president.

On Nov. 10, the 100 millionth dose of Zithromax® is expected to be distributed in Ethiopia's Amhara region, thought to be one of the most trachoma-endemic areas of the world. The Center, in partnership with the Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health, local communities, and others including Pfizer and Lions Clubs International Foundation, will celebrate the milestone during MalTra week, an intense effort for widespread treatment and prevention of trachoma and treatment of malaria.

MalTra reaches millions of people each year; the eastern part of Amhara is treated in the spring and the western part is treated in fall.

"Pfizer joins President Carter and others in envisioning a world where blinding trachoma has been eliminated," said Read. "I speak for the entire Pfizer community in reiterating our desire, along with partners like The Carter Center and ITI, to helping end the suffering by 2020," he said.

The Carter Center provides treatments to trachoma-endemic communities in six African countries: Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.

On Nov. 5, 2013, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter joined Pfizer CEO Ian Read at Pfizer headquarters in New York to celebrate progress in the international campaign to end blinding trachoma. (Photo: Pfizer/W. Vazquez)

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