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Carter Center Statement: President Jimmy Carter Meeting with Nicolás Maduro, President of Venezuela

Contact: In Atlanta,

New York City…Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met with Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro Moros in New York City today to discuss the status of the campaign to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) from the Americas. Currently, four of the six river blindness-endemic countries in the region have eliminated transmission of the disease with assistance from The Carter Center's Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA) and the Pan American Health Organization.

Transmission of the parasite that causes the disease only continues in the cross-border region between Venezuela and Brazil, commonly referred to as the Yanomami area. The two leaders discussed how to implement the 2014 Venezuela-Brazil agreement to use cross border teams and flights to deliver health education and the river blindness medicine Mectizan®, donated by Merck, to the remote indigenous people (the Yanomami) who live along the shared border.

In 2014, the Ministries of Health in Brazil and Venezuela signed a binational agreement specifically to enhance the coordination of their efforts to complete the job of onchocerciasis elimination in the Americas. The agreement reflects the political will in those two countries to undertake the challenging task.

President Carter expressed to President Maduro his hope that much more rapid progress could be made to use this agreement as soon as possible to identify and reach all of the remote indigenous communities that should benefit from this public-private health initiative. President Carter has also reached out to Brazil President Dilma Rousseff to meet, as a binational approach is imperative to the success of the regional campaign to eliminate river blindness from the Western Hemisphere.

Editor's note: Learn more about the Center's effort to eliminate river blindness.


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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