More Links in Health Programs

Real Lives, Real Change: River Blindness Elimination Program

Blog | Colonialism Has No Place in Global Health

By Dr. Kashef Ijaz, Vice President, Health Programs, The Carter Center; Kelly Callahan, M.P.H., Director, Trachoma Control Program, The Carter Center; Dr. Emmanuel Miri, Nigeria Country Representative, The Carter Center; Dr. Zerihun Tadesse, Ethiopia Country Representative, The Carter Center

From the vantage point of a richly resourced and powerful country or society, it’s easy to believe that colonialism is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The sad fact is that the effects of a colonial mind-set are alive and well in some corners of the global health community. Learn more »

As World Sight Day Nears, River Blindness is Fading

By Gregory S. Noland, director, River Blindness Elimination Program, and Dr. Kashef Ijaz, vice president, health programs, The Carter Center

World Sight Day is the second Thursday in October, and we at The Carter Center and our country offices are doing our part to preserve vision in vulnerable populations through our robust river blindness and trachoma programs. Learn more »

Blog | From the CEO: We are 100% Committed to Ending Neglected Diseases

By Paige Alexander, chief executive officer of The Carter Center

This month, I was pleased to sign the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, signifying the Carter Center’s 100% commitment to work with dozens of countries, donors, and organizational partners to tackle these terrible diseases Learn more »

Meet the Last Americans to Face River Blindness

The final bastion of river blindness in the Americas lies along the border of Brazil and Venezuela, where the nomadic Yanomami indigenous people reside in hard-to-reach, ring-shaped temporary communities in the Amazon rainforest called shaponos. Learn more »

Disease-Elimination Celebration Lights Up the Town

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 joined about 100 other locales around the world that illuminated buildings and landmarks in orange to raise awareness of the fight against NTDs. Learn more »

Celebrating the Third Annual World NTD Day

Jan. 30, 2022, marked the third annual World NTD Day, highlighting the global community’s commitment to ending neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that cause immeasurable suffering among the world’s most marginalized communities. Together The Carter Center and our partners lit up the world as we celebrated hard-earned progress and took action to #EndtheNeglect and #BeatNTDs. Learn more »

Blog | River Blindness Elimination Signals Need for Partnership and Persistence

By Dr. Kashef Ijaz, vice president, Health Programs, and Gregory Noland, director, Carter Center River Blindness Elimination Program

The elimination of river blindness in Nigeria’s Plateau and Nasarawa states, as confirmed by a recent analysis, shows the value of partnership and persistence in the fight against neglected tropical diseases. Learn more »

River Blindness Declines Along Brazil-Venezuela Border

After years of hard work and international cooperation, the onchocerciasis elimination programs of Brazil and Venezuela have confined river blindness to the smallest area yet in the Amazon Rainforest. The achievement comes despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more »

Meet Berihun Takele

Berihun Takele wants to do everything he can to help his community in Ethiopia’s Amhara region to thrive. Not only is he a kebele leader (similar to a village chief), but he also leads a team of volunteers who protect the village, called Wudi Gemzu, against river blindness by distributing medication and education and catching black flies for testing for the disease. Learn more »

Blog | As General Assembly Gathers, Give the WHO Its Due

By Paige Alexander, chief executive officer, and Kashef Ijaz, vice president, Health Programs

The 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly opens Tuesday, Sept. 14. It is a time of great anticipation as representatives of 193 member states come together in the great hall to discuss issues and set an agenda for the coming year. World political leaders, including President Joe Biden, will give speeches that will be closely watched for clues and outright declarations regarding a wide variety of international challenges, global health among them. Learn more »

Blog | Health Programs’ Benefits Remain Long After We’re Gone

By Dr. Kashef Ijaz, vice president, health programs

The Carter Center’s neglected tropical disease programs treat and prevent Guinea worm disease, trachoma, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis, with the goal to control, eliminate, and eradicate. Beyond the alleviation of the human suffering caused by these illnesses, this work brings ancillary benefits to communities, health systems, and infrastructure that may be just as important. Learn more »

Blog | Now Is Not the Time to Quit Fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases

By Paige Alexander, chief executive officer, and Kashef Ijaz, vice president, health programs

The world’s most vulnerable people work hard every day to overcome poverty and disease. They aren’t interested in handouts, but with a hand up they can get the resources they need to surmount obstacles to prosperity and peace. Learn more »

Drug Treatments Resume With Safety Measures

Mass drug administration, in which entire communities receive drug treatment to halt disease transmission, was interrupted or delayed, but intense work went on behind the scenes to develop sets of COVID-safe procedures. Learn more »

Ethiopian Volunteers Work on Front Lines of Health

The Carter Center is working closely with the Federal Ministry of Health in Ethiopia to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) and lymphatic filariasis throughout that East African nation. Essential to the effort are thousands of volunteers called community-directed distributors, or CDDs, who are chosen by their own communities and do all the work of carefully administering medicine and keeping detailed records. Click through to meet a few of them. Learn more »

Director Melds Passion for Field with Science

Growing up, Greg Noland voraciously read National Geographic magazines. From his home near Dallas, Texas, Noland became fascinated with other cultures and seeing the world. Learn more »

Blog | The Work Is Worth It, and It Isn't Finished

By Dr. Kashef Ijaz, vice president, health programs

The observance of World Neglected Tropical Disease Day on Jan. 30 (following the public launch of the 2030 NTD Road Map by the WHO on Jan. 28) prompts me to reflect on my good fortune in overseeing the Carter Center’s tireless work to free people from an array of illnesses that cause untold misery and perpetuate the cycle of poverty. Learn more »

Ethiopian Commercial Farms Weed Out Tropical Diseases

Programs to combat neglected tropical diseases usually are aimed at people in villages at the end of the road and occasionally in big cities where all roads lead. But laborers in the fields of large commercial farms in Ethiopia’s Gambella region are often neither here nor there, leaving them vulnerable to contracting, and in some cases spreading, debilitating diseases. Learn more »

Center Fights River Blindness in Urban Setting

Most of the Carter Center’s work against neglected tropical diseases takes place in rural locations that are far from health care facilities and other resources. However, these diseases can be found in some unique urban settings, too, and the Center is just as committed to combating them there to ensure elimination is achieved. Learn more »

Terrain, Disease No Match for Sudanese Doctor

Dr. Nabil Aziz Awad Alla, the Carter Center's longtime country representative in Sudan, has not lived the quiet life of a pencil-pushing administrator. He's a hands-on boss who prefers to look his people in the eye and observe situations directly. Learn more »

Blog | Uganda Community Goes from Misery to Joy

By Peace Habomugisha, Uganda country director

Steven Ocopcan is 77 years old, and he well remembers how river blindness affected his community in Uganda when he was a child. "At the time, people thought they had annoyed God and, in return, he cursed us," Ocopcan told me. "Many people sacrificed cows, goats, and hens to God, but this didn’t work. People accused one another of bewitching others. It was bad." Learn more »

Jungle Paths Lead to Better Health

For the indigenous Yanomami people of the Amazon Rainforest, trekking through jungle pathways is a way of life. Such paths serve as the only way in or out of remote Yanomami communities, where the parasitic disease river blindness is transmitted by the bites of tiny black flies. Learn more »

Blog | From the CEO: Everyday People Can Do Exceptional Things

By Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, chief executive officer

At The Carter Center, we believe people can improve their own lives when they have the right skills, knowledge, and access to resources. I’d like to introduce you to a few people who are making a real difference in their communities. Learn more »

Nigerian Woman a Pillar for Community Health

Kate Orji grabs a tall measuring stick and large black plastic bag before heading across her front yard and through the gate of her family’s compound. It’s midday in this southern Nigeria community, and the air is hot and sticky. Orji knocks on her neighbor’s door and explains why she’s here, unpacking her bag to reveal two logbooks, a flipbook, two drug bottles, a spoon, and a pen. Learn more »

Laboratory Magnifies Ethiopia’s River Blindness Work

Ethiopia is serious about eliminating river blindness and has the laboratory to prove it. The laboratory, in Addis Ababa, opened in October 2015 as the Ethiopia Ministry of Health shifted from merely seeking to control the disease, technically called onchocerciasis, to trying to eliminate it entirely. Learn more »

Carter Center Slideshow | Faces of River Blindness: Kisanchi Village

Meet some elders of Kisanchi village in central Nigeria. They are blind or have low vision due to river blindness, a parasitic infection that can cause intense itching, skin discoloration, rashes, and eye disease that often leads to permanent blindness. Learn more »

Carter Center Slideshow | Neighbors Help Neighbors Combat River Blindness

At the heart of the River Blindness Elimination Program in Nigeria are thousands of community volunteers who receive training and equipment to serve as community-directed distributors. They deliver accurate health information to their neighbors, administer the medications that combat the disease, and keep thorough records for Ministry of Health and Carter Center researchers to track progress. Get to know some of these volunteers here. Learn more »

Tiny Tablet Makes Huge Difference in this Woman’s Life

Cordelia Anude wears a stylish metal cross pendant, a symbol of the faith that sustains her. However, it wasn’t so long ago that she felt distanced from God and from her fellow believers. An advancing case of river blindness had impaired her vision, making it impossible to walk to church on Sunday or study her Bible at home. Learn more »

Blog | Community’s Trust and Commitment Ensure Success

By Dr. Dean G. Sienko, vice president, health programs

At The Carter Center, we never want anyone to be dependent on us. All of our programs are designed to solve problems, and to help our partners build their own capability, resiliency, and self-reliance. We believe in meaningful partnerships, not only with donors and governments but also—and most importantly—with the communities where we work. Learn more »

#CommittedtoChange Mosaic

President and Mrs. Carter thank the many people who showed their support to advance the Carter Center's campaign in the MacArthur Foundation's 100&Change competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that promises to solve a critical problem of our time. The Center proposes a bold plan to eliminate river blindness disease in Nigeria, creating a model for the rest of Africa and the world. Learn more »

Meet Okechukwu Obodo

Okechukwu Obodo is a widower who is well into his 70s. He lives in a one-room dwelling that is so orderly he can immediately tell when anything is out of place, and he’s good at building a fire for cooking — not bad for someone who’s been blind for 15 years. Learn more »

Blog | 100&Change: Catching Flies in Nigeria

Juliana Onwumere is a neglected tropical disease coordinator in Imo state ministry of health. As The Carter Center and partners fight to eliminate river blindness disease in Nigeria, one of Onwumere’s tasks is to collect black flies to be tested for evidence of the disease. Learn more »

Blog | 100&Change: Nigeria's Dr. Adewole Aims to Put River Blindness in ’Dust Bin of History’

Millions will be spared future suffering thanks to collaborative efforts of The Carter Center and Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Health to address widespread neglected diseases such river blindness. Hear from Nigeria's Minister of Health, Dr. Isaac Adewole, on the importance of this partnership. Learn more »

Blog | 100&Change: The Carter Center Takes Aim at a Big Fish

By Dr. Frank Richards, director, River Blindness Elimination Program

There’s a famous line in the movie “Jaws” – after the stunned sheriff sees the monster shark for the first time, he says to the shark hunter: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Learn more »

Blog | 100&Change: Dr. Frank Richards Discusses Unique Strategy

How do dirty clothes hanging in a tree help eliminate river blindness in Nigeria? Dr. Frank Richards, who directs the Carter Center’s programs on river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis, explains. Learn more »

Carter Center’s Nigeria Director Sees Challenges and Crushes Them

In many cultures, a person’s name carries significant meaning and may even be thought to describe one’s destiny. In the Southeastern region of his native Nigeria, Dr. Emmanuel Miri’s name means "water" and "life," and few names could be more appropriate for the man who directs the Carter Center's health programs in that country. Learn more »

Under the Microscope: Sudan’s High-Tech Onchocerciasis Lab

It’s a sweltering morning in Khartoum, Sudan. The temperature inside the sage-green corridors of the National Health Laboratory building is only slightly below that in the dusty parking lot outside, and the elevator is out of service. Learn more »

Blog | 100&Change: Health Education Matters

Dr. Frank Richards, who directs the Carter Center’s programs on river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis, explains why health education matters in the fight to eliminate diseases. Learn more »

Blog | From the CEO: Small Actions Yield Big Successes

By Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, chief executive officer, The Carter Center.

We think big at The Carter Center. Big ideas, big plans, big goals. Learn more »

Blog | 100&Change: Community Volunteers Key to River Blindness Strategy

By Dr. Emmanuel Miri, Carter Center country representative, Nigeria

Gabriel Ani is a farmer and schoolteacher in the Ndiulo Enugu-Nato village in Enugu State, Nigeria, who loves his community and is loved back. Gabriel is a community volunteer drug distributor — the hands, feet, and heart of our River Blindness Elimination Program. For nine years, he has served more than 1,000 people in 129 households, carefully measuring each person to determine the proper dosage of medicine and recording it in a ledger. Learn more »

100&Change: Ask Me Anything!

Join us Tuesday, June 13, at 11 a.m. EDT for a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat, co-hosted by The Carter Center and the MacArthur Foundation. Dr. Frank Richards, who directs the Carter Center’s programs on river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis, will answer your questions. Learn more »

Blog | 100&Change: Community Volunteer Joel Kasuwa Gives Back

Watch how Nigerian Joel Kasuwa, a passionate and committed volunteer, is working with The Carter Center to help us eliminate river blindness in Nigeria. Learn more »

IN the SPOTLIGHT: Frank Richards is a Man on a Mission

From Guatemala to Nigeria and beyond, Dr. Frank O. Richards Jr. has dedicated most of his adult life to freeing people from the miseries of river blindness. He has been director of the Carter Center’s River Blindness Elimination program since its inception in 1996. Learn more »

Blog | 100&Change: A Vision for All of Africa

By Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, chief executive officer, The Carter Center

Leveraging the experience of our pioneering work to eradicate Guinea worm disease, The Carter Center made the audacious decision to pursue elimination of river blindness (onchocerciasis) everywhere we work on it in Africa and Latin America. Learn more »

Blog | 100&Change: Nigeria's Minister of Health and the Carter Center's CEO Discuss River Blindness Elimination

Why is it critical to eliminate river blindness in Nigeria? Our CEO Amb. Mary Ann Peters and Nigerian Minister of Health Dr. Isaac Adewole explain the need and great potential in this brief video. Learn more »

Story Map | Hope for a Healthy Nigeria

With two states in Nigeria on the brink of wiping out river blindness, the Center is stepping up efforts. Learn more »

Committed to His Community: Gabriel Ani, the Best CDD in Nigeria's Enugu State

Gabriel Ani, a 40ish farmer and schoolteacher, is the Carter Center-trained community drug distributor in Ndiulo Village, Aninri Local Government Area, Enugu State, southeastern Nigeria. Learn more »

Blog | 100&Change: MacArthur’s Cecilia Conrad Discusses the Carter Center's Proposal

Cecilia Conrad, managing director of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, discusses the Carter Center’s 100&Change proposal, which aims to eliminate river blindness in Nigeria. Learn more »

Blog | New VP Gets Close-up Look at Work in the Field

By Dean G. Sienko, M.D., M.S., vice president, Carter Center Health Programs

I’m the new guy around here. Although I’ve visited and worked in many places during my medical career – including multiple overseas deployments with the U.S. Army – my first trip abroad with The Carter Center was a new highlight. Learn more »

Blog | Nigeria Teen Receives Ceremonial Dose of Praziquantel

Thirteen-year-old Jude Musa looked serious, even stoic, as a volunteer from his village gauged his height with a measuring stick. Community drug distributor Yusuf Maikeffi determined the proper dose of praziquantel and handed the tablets to the boy, who popped them into his mouth and chased them with fresh water from a plastic pouch. Learn more »

Blog | From the CEO: Center Hits 500 Million Milestone

By Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, chief executive officer

As I write this, The Carter Center is closing in on the distribution of its 500 millionth dose of drugs to combat neglected tropical diseases. That’s half a billion doses of medication given to tens of millions of people suffering or at risk for river blindness, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis. Big institutional milestones are the result of small individual efforts. Learn more »

Blog | Notes From the Field: Guatemala Eliminates River Blindness

By Dr. Frank Richards, director, River Blindness Elimination Program

My career has come full circle. I was working in Guatemala for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1988 on the parasitic worm disease called river blindness. Then, Guatemala was Latin America’s most endemic country for the disease, which is spread by bites of black flies breeding in streams. Now, the World Health Organization has verified that Guatemala has eliminated the disease. This is a monumental achievement, reflecting 28 years of effort. Learn more »

Carter Center Celebrates 500 Millionth Dose of Hope

The Carter Center in 2016 surpassed 500 million doses of medication distributed to fight neglected tropical diseases. Learn more »

Carter Center Slideshow: Kinship Powerful in River Blindness Fight

When it comes to eliminating disease, sometimes it’s not only what you know, it’s also who you know. River blindness is so pervasive in Africa that many global experts have believed it could only be controlled, not eliminated. But Uganda intends to rid itself of the parasite that causes the disease, and it’s using one of its greatest resources to do it: women. Learn more »

Meet Christine Akello: A Civil War Survivor Fighting for Sight

Christine Akello thought she was safe. Having survived about three decades of civil war and displacement in Uganda, she thought she had seen the worst. Learn more »

Saving Sight, One Person at a Time

Peter Onuchukwu is a subsistence farmer who has lived all his life in the farm community of Ibu in Okigwe local government area of Nigeria. He is only 65 years old, but ever since 2006, he has been unable to see the lush green leaves on his farm or the yields hanging from his Orange tree just a few feet from his doorsteps in Imo state, southeastern Nigeria. Learn more »

Meet Christopher Olanya: Winning the War on River Blindness

Christopher Olanya, now in his 60s, has survived the brutalities of war, the trauma of displacement, and the ravages of disease in his native Uganda. He has become an unlikely symbol of hope in the mission to eliminate onchocerciasis, a parasitic infection commonly known and feared as river blindness. Learn more »

Blog | Scaling Up: Center-Supported Treatments Reach Record Numbers

In 2014, Carter Center health programs assisted in the distribution of more drug treatments for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) than in any previous year, demonstrating the Center’s commitment to alleviating suffering and improving the lives of those who live in the world’s poorest and most isolated communities. Learn more »

Meet Peace Habomugisha: Focused on Success in Uganda

Peace Habomugisha has an office in Kampala, Uganda, but it's usually empty. As the Carter Center's representative in Uganda, Habomugisha typically can be found out in the field, keeping the river blindness program on track. She makes sure health workers are distributing medication in the right doses at the right times and health education is being delivered effectively. Learn more »

Blog | Celebrating 200 Million Doses of Mectizan®

By Dr. Frank Richards, director, River Blindness Elimination Program.

Dr. Frank Richards leads the Carter Center’s efforts to eliminate river blindness (also known as onchocerciasis), a parasitic disease transmitted by the bites of infected black flies. On Aug. 12, 2014, The Carter Center held a special ceremony in northern Uganda to celebrate the distribution of the 200 millionth Mectizan® drug treatment, used to eliminate river blindness, supported by The Carter Center worldwide. The following is based on Dr. Richards’ speech at the event. Learn more »

Carter Center Slideshow: Simple Measures, Big Results

A leader in the eradication and elimination of diseases, The Carter Center is fighting six preventable diseases — Guinea worm, river blindness, trachoma, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria — by using health education and simple, low-cost methods. The following slideshow illustrates some of the fundamental tools and approaches used by The Carter Center to help build a healthier and more peaceful world. Learn more »

Carter Center Slideshow: Ugandan Lab Tests Blood, Flies Nonstop

At the Carter Center's field office in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, a busy scientific laboratory is devoted to a single cause: the surveillance, and ultimate elimination, of river blindness. Learn more »

Blog | River Blindness Treatment Brings Joy of Marriage Back to Ugandan Village

The success of the Ugandan National Onchocerciasis Program in Abeju means that fewer children will be ostracized because of river blindness. Many of the benefits of Uganda’s National Onchocerciasis Elimination Program, supported by The Carter Center, are readily apparent: reduced blindness and itching, increased productivity, and better overall health outcomes. Learn more »

Blog | Art as a Bridge to Health

A community art group has been helping the Carter Center’s Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA) highlight vital health messages. Learn more »

Blog | Tune In: Carter Center River Blindness Experts Featured in Documentary on Public Television

“Dark Forest, Black Fly,” an independent documentary feature film from award-winning producer Gary Strieker and Cielo Productions, offers an in-depth look at Uganda’s pending triumph against river blindness, a disease that has blinded sufferers in Africa for thousands of years. Learn more »

Blog | Carter Center and CDC Experts Participate in Google+ Hangout to Discuss Progress to Eliminate River Blindness from Americas

Carter Center and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) experts discuss the latest updates on the campaign to wipe out a debilitating parasitic disease, river blindness (onchocerciasis) from the Western Hemisphere via Google+ Hangout On Air. Learn more »

Blog | Dr. Adetokunbo O. Lucas Honored With 2013 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award

On March 5, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) awarded Dr. Adetokunbo O. Lucas the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award for Dr. Lucas’ “outstanding humanitarian efforts and achievements that have contributed to improving the health of humankind.” The NFID, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public and health care professionals about infectious disease, has given the award. Learn more »

Alidu Kemisa: Treatment Relieves Agony of River Blindness

Alidu Kemisa cannot seem to stop rubbing her arms and touching her head as she describes the symptoms that have plagued her for more than ten years: pain, intense itching, and roughening of her skin. Learn more »

Blog | Carter Center, Merck, and Partners Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Mectizan Donation Program

At a special ceremony at The Carter Center in Atlanta today, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former Merck CEO Dr. Roy Vagelos, former Carter Center Executive Director, Dr. Bill Foege, and other guests and dignitaries from around the world gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Merck’s Mectizan® Donation Program. Learn more »

Adaptation Key in Director's Fight Against Parasites

In Guatemala 25 years ago, on a coffee farm situated at the slope of a volcano, Frank O. Richards Jr., M.D., sat under a thinly thatched roof talking with an old man. Chickens foraged on the dirt floor, and a mangy dog slept in the corner. Learn more »

Blog | Making Medical History: BASF Donation Helps Stop Two Neglected Diseases

The Carter Center and BASF continue to work together to make medical history in Africa. The latest donation of nearly 6,000 liters of the BASF larvicide ABATE® will be used to combat Guinea worm and river blindness, two neglected tropical diseases that prey on some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities. Learn more »

Meet Dr. Nabil Aziz Mikhail: Tireless Warrior Against Guinea Worm Disease, River Blindness in Sudan

Ask about the time he nearly died from cerebral malaria during a Guinea worm surveillance trip, or his supervisory visit to a town under siege, or the nights he spent stuck in a car with no food, little water, and once with three flat tires, and Dr. Nabil Aziz Mikhail will tell you he doesn't like to sit in his office Learn more »

Blog | Sudan Announces River Blindness Success in Abu Hamad

The Republic of Sudan has won a long-fought battle against river blindness in Abu Hamad, the most isolated focus area in the world. That the government, with help from The Carter Center and partners, has stopped transmission of this debilitating disease in a remote community of more than 100,000 is an inspiring health success for Sudan, for Africa, and for the world. Learn more »

The Carter Center at 30: Leader in Disease Eradication and Elimination

he Carter Center has become a global leader in the eradication and elimination of diseases, focusing efforts to build health and hope in some of the poorest and most isolated places on earth. Learn more »

Real Lives Real Change: Meet Dr. Zerihun Tadesse Gebrelassie

Zerihun Tadesse Gebrelassie barely remembers his mother rushing his baby brother to a hospital in Ethiopia. Many patients, long lines, and few health workers made her wish she had a relative — maybe one who was a nurse — who could help her son. His little brother survived, but Dr. Zerihun says his mother never forgot that scene. Learn more »

Blog | Catching Flies, Monitoring River Blindness in Mexico and Guatemala

For health workers in Mexico and Guatemala, the start of the new year meant major change. Thanks to the efforts of the Carter Center-sponsored Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA), the two Latin American countries have interrupted transmission of river blindness (onchocerciasis) nationwide. Learn more »

Chiapas Families Help Stop River Blindness

On a warm spring day in the state of Chiapas, villagers in the small hamlet of Jose Maria de Morelos walk uphill on the town's only paved road to reach a small complex of school buildings. But today is not a school day; today, the river blindness elimination brigade is meeting at the school. Learn more »

Blog | The Carter Center Congratulates Latin American Countries for Major Strides Toward the Elimination of River Blindness

The Carter Center and its Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA) are pleased to congratulate three Latin American countries on their recent progress toward eliminating river blindness (onchocerciasis). Learn more »

Meet Jozefa Ortiz Rosa: Medication Restores Sight, Brings Hope to Grandmother

When Jozefa Ortiz Rosa of Tarrales, Guatemala, started losing her vision, she worried about her future. Her husband had died years before, leaving her with six children to raise and a coffee crop to tend. Her older children had taken over the farming, but she still needed to care for her younger children and grandchildren. Learn more »

As River Blindness Declines, Health Education Intensifies

Standing in the courtyard of his school in El Xab, Guatemala, his eyes blindfolded, a boy swings a large pole toward a flyshaped piñata. Schoolmates cheer for the boy, who looks about 9 years old. His friends hope that one well-placed strike will smash the fly, releasing oodles of candy. The adults in charge hope the children leave with something more than a handful of treats. Learn more »

Miracle Medicine Mends Nigerian Tailor's Eyesight

38-year-old Zaki Baushe holds a thin metal needle in his left hand as he deftly angles a thread through its eye. As a tailor in Akwanga local government area, Nasarawa State, Nigeria, it is an act that he has repeated thousands of times throughout his life. Yet several years ago, Baushe was in danger of losing this skill entirely. Learn more »

Blog | Long-Term Commitment to Eliminate River Blindness Brightens Future for Latin America

One-third of people living in onchocerciasis-endemic communities in Latin America are no longer at risk for the debilitating disease also known as river blindness, thanks to the hard work and long-term commitment of six endemic countries—and with the support of The Carter Center and other partners—officials announced today during the 20th Inter-American Conference on Onchocerciasis (IACO). Learn more »

Making Inventions Out of Necessity to Fight River Blindness

The late afternoon sun has begun to set as Philippe Nwane, 38, carrying a long plastic tube, walks slowly through a sweet potato field near a remote village in western Cameroon. He approaches a local stream and finds what he has been hunting for all afternoon—a spot where hundreds of buzzing black flies thicken the air. Learn more »

Video Journal: Pioneering Approach Brings River Blindness to Brink of Elimination in Sudanese Community

Abu Hamad, a vast and isolated desert community 500 kilometers from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, is on the verge of disproving a long-held belief among public health professionals that river blindness (onchocerciasis) cannot be eliminated in Africa due to poor health care delivery and the disease's prevalence. Learn more »

Blog | Fighting River Blindness in Cameroon: Navigating Mud, Biting Flies, and Torrential Rains

By Kelly Callahan, assistant director of program support for the Carter Center’s Health Programs

Kelly Callahan, assistant director of program support for the Carter Center’s Health Programs, blogs from a river blindness-endemic village in western Cameroon, where she is assessing Carter Center and national program efforts to combat the devastating parasitic infection. Learn more »

Integrated Drug Treatment Saves Time, Money in Nigeria

Over the past three years, The Carter Center, in partnership with the Nigeria Ministry of Health, has introduced an innovative way of simultaneously treating several parasitic diseases in Nigeria. In this approach — known as triple-drug treatment — a health worker gives a community member three different medicines at one time that in combination treat river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and several kinds of intestinal worms. In the interview that follows, Frank Richards Jr., M.D., who directs the Center's programs for fighting these diseases, discusses the benefits of the triple-drug approach. Learn more »

Meet Teshome Gebre: Lion of Disease Prevention in Ethiopia

Teshome Gebre, the Carter Center's country representative for health programs in Ethiopia, likes to joke that he has been in public health service for what seems like 100 years. Yet, it's impossible to ignore the great joy Teshome has received from a lifetime dedicated to fighting disease in his native Ethiopia. Learn more »

Blog | Carter Center Hosts Annual Health Program Reviews

The Carter Center is hosting its 2009 health program reviews March 23-31, 2010, with experts from around the world –including representatives from partner organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lions Clubs International, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – gathered in Atlanta to assess program status and adopt recommendations for the coming year. Learn more »

Profile From the Field: Mauricio Sauerbrey, M.T., M.Sc., Ph.D.

If passion is a key ingredient for success, then Dr. Mauricio Sauerbrey embodies the necessary "stuff" for meeting the goal of interrupted transmission of river blindness — or onchocerciasis—in the Americas by 2012. Learn more »

Meet Alba Lucia Morales: Health Educator Fills Critical Role in Onchocerciasis Elimination

For Alba Lucia Morales Castro, health education adviser with the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA)--the Carter Center-sponsored river blindness elimination organization in Latin America--the joy of working in the field is its own reward. Learn more »

Uganda Attempts Nationwide Elimination of River Blindness

River blindness is such a pervasive disease in Africa that many global experts believe it can only be controlled not eliminated. But Uganda has announced plans to rid the disease, despite hefty challenges. The country's Ministry of Health officials believe that eliminating the disease will be more cost-effective than continuing control efforts indefinitely for its estimated 2 million citizens at risk. Learn more »

Pitasia Gonzales: Treatment Gives Hope for Grandchildren's Future

Pitasia Gonzáles lives in rural Mexico with her daughters, in a home surrounded by coffee fields accessible only by foot. Like many of the women in her community, Gonzáles was a strong and capable provider for her family, until river blindness (also known as onchocerciasis) stole her sight many years ago. Learn more »

Welcomed Home, an Outcast Begins to Heal

Today, a visitor to the Mbale district of eastern Uganda might see Mustafa Mugwano happily plowing his fields in the lush farming village of Bunawazi. But two years ago, he would have been found living alone in the forests bordering the village. Mugwano survived there for more than 10 years after having been turned away by his community. Learn more »

I Sold My Roof: Farmer's Hope for Grandchildren Includes Futures Free from River Blindness

The rolling, lush landscape of the Ethiopian countryside surrounded the straw and mortar shelter. Inside, Ababora Abajobar, 70, sat in the thick-walled darkness. His weathered hands perched upon his walking stick, his blue socks neatly folded around his scarred shins. Learn more »

New Malaria Program Blankets Areas of Ethiopia with Bed Nets

This article was originally featured in the 2007 Spring issue of Carter Center News Ethiopian farmer Mamo Tesfaye is no stranger to disease. Four years ago, he could only sit idly outside his home as the growing season came and went. Afflicted with river blindness, he could not see well enough to work his land or provide for his children. But soon after, The Carter Center began distributing the drug Mectizan®, which prevents the disease and even reverses its effects, in his village of Afeta. Today, Tesfaye surveys his land from behind his two brown oxen as he plows his fields. Learn more »

Carter Center Slideshow: Mectizan® Brings Hope to Millions

Since 1996, The Carter Center’s River Blindness Program has assisted in the delivery of more than 100 million treatments of Mectizan® (donated by Merck Inc.) and conducted health education in 11 endemic countries in Latin America and Africa. The Center is leading the drive to eliminate this blinding parasitic disease where it occurs in the Americas by 2015. Learn more »

Many Forgotten Diseases, One Integrated Approach

To help combat neglected tropical diseases suffered by millions of people, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $10 million to fund two groundbreaking Carter Center initiatives in Nigeria. Learn more »

Dr. Emmanuel Miri: 'Dr. Water' Pours New Life into Rural Nigerian Communities with Carter Center Health Programs

His name means "water" and "life" in the Southeastern region of his native Nigeria, and perhaps no name could be more appropriate for Dr. Emmanuel Miri, resident technical adviser for the Carter Center's health programs in Nigeria. Learn more »

Staffer Reflects on OEPA Successes, River Blindness Partnerships in Mexico

The Carter Center is the sponsoring agency for the regional coalition OEPA (Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas). The coalition works to eradicate onchocerciasis - also known as river blindness - in the Americas through semi-annual distribution of the safe and effective oral microfilaricide ivermecin (Mectizan®), donated by Merck & Co, Inc. Learn more »

Proving Kinship Counts in Global Public Health

The son of an area chief in the former Ankole Kingdom, Moses Katabarwa learned early the importance of family, community, and grassroots action, dedicating his life to improving the well-being of his fellow Ugandans. Learn more »

Innovative Approach to Disease Control Multiplies Results

Imagine a nation almost half the size of the United States where large portions of the population are sick -- not with just one disease but several at once. Such is the daily reality for those living in Nigeria, a nation with one of the highest burdens of disease in Africa. Learn more »

Volunteer Plays Key Role as River Blindness Health Promoter: Making Time to Protect a Community and Fight Disease

Working long hours caring for one of Guatemala's largest coffee plantations and managing six children would leave most people little time to volunteer. Jose Maria Pos, 41, thought the same thing when the Mitzimal farm manager asked him to become the community's river blindness (onchocerciasis) health promoter. Learn more »

Clear Vision Is in Their Future: Combating River Blindness in the Americas

The women of the extended Ramirez family—Lisa, Martha, Maria, Anna, and Yesenia—range in age from 16 to 52 and have been involved with the Carter Center's effort to eliminate onchocerciasis, or river blindness, for a collective total of 25 years. Learn more »