The health programs of The Carter Center have surpassed a major milestone: The organization on Nov. 4 celebrated assisting with the distribution of 500 million doses of donated medication to combat five neglected tropical diseases in 14 countries in Africa and Latin America.

Elephantiasis  of leg due to filariasis/CDC
Elephantiasis of leg due to filariasis/CDC

Nigeria’s federal health official joined local dignitaries and officers of The Carter Center and other organizations in Gidan Gimba, Karu LGA, Nasarawa State, Nigeria, to celebrate the achievement. The observance was held in Nigeria because 42 percent of the Carter Center-assisted treatments have been administered through numerous Center health programs there. The next largest number of NTD drugs has been distributed in Ethiopia, to combat trachoma, river blindness, and lymphatic filariasis.

“The Carter Center health programs have pioneered eradication, elimination, and control of neglected tropical diseases for more than a quarter-century,” said Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, the Carter Center’s chief executive officer. “We have seen, time and again, that people at the grass-roots level can improve their own lives dramatically when they have access to the appropriate tools and knowledge. Among the most important of these tools are safe and effective donated medicines, together with health education and community ownership of the distribution process.”

Founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, The Carter Center partners with ministries of health and community volunteers to distribute medication and health education aimed at eliminating river blindness, blinding trachoma, and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), and controlling schistosomiasis and intestinal worms.

Read more at The Carter Center