Carter Cen­ter gets US$10 mil. to fight river blind­ness

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY KATH­LEEN FOODY

For­mer Pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter hopes a US$10 mil­lion do­na­tion to end river blind­ness in Nige­ria where it is most preva­lent will help spark a global ef­fort to elim­i­nate the dis­ease heard con­cerns about the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of some as­pects of hu­man rights — a shrink­ing of demo­cratic space.”

Bil­lion­aire phi­lan­thropist Emeka Of­for of Nige­ria an­nounced the do­na­tion to the Carter Cen­ter dur­ing an event there on Fri­day. Cen­ter of­fi­cials said the do­na­tion is the largest from an in­di­vid­ual African donor in its his­tory.

Nige­ria has set a 2020 goal to elim­i­nate the dis­ease that causes a rash or skin dis­col­oration and eye dis­ease that can lead to blind­ness. The lar­vae that cause the dis­ease are trans­mit­ted by bit­ing black flies.

Carter told re­porters that the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion de­ter­mines which dis­eases are tar­geted for erad­i­ca­tion.

“If we can prove this with Sir Emeka’s help in Nige­ria, with 40 per­cent of the world’s prob­lems, then I don’t think there’s much doubt we can get WHO to say ‘OK, let’s do it for the whole world,’” Carter said.

Carter says Of­for’s sup­port will help gain in­flu­ence with the Nige­rian gov­ern­ment.

Of­for, who leads an oil and gas con­glom­er­ate, said he will do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to en­gage gov­ern­ment and fel­low cor­po­rate of­fi­cials on the is­sue. He called Fri­day’s an­nounce­ment “a high point” in his life and said the do­na­tion and oth­ers he has made to­ward com­bat­ing po­lio is a way to give back to his coun­try.

The hu­man rights or­ga­ni­za­tion Carter founded af­ter leav­ing the White House has worked in Nige­ria since 1988 and plans to fo­cus on elim­i­nat­ing the dis­ease in seven states. Cen­ter of­fi­cials said they will work with the Nige­rian Min­istry of Health to dis­trib­ute a drug that fights the dis­ease more of­ten and in more lo­ca­tions.

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