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Venezuela Reclaims Jungle Airstrip to Fight River Blindness (English)

In the Americas, the remaining active onchocerciasis (river blindness) transmission area is deep in the Amazon rain forest, where the migratory Yanomami people live along the border of Venezuela and Brazil.

Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are sometimes the only way to deliver the drug Mectizan®, donated by Merck, to communities deep in the jungle. The long distance from landing pads and landing strips to the most remote communities can prevent health services from reliably reaching the people there.

In 2015-2016, the Venezuela Ministry of Health Onchocerciasis Elimination Program recovered two abandoned landing strips to improve access to the hardest-to-reach areas and optimize the delivery of medication to accelerate elimination of onchocerciasis from the Western Hemisphere. The Carter Center leads the regional effort to eliminate onchocerciasis.

Video posted with permission of the Venezuela Ministry of Health/Oscar Noya Alarcón.

Learn more about the Center’s OEPA Program:
https://www.cartercenter.org/health/river_blindness/oepa.html

Learn more about the Center’s River Blindness Elimination Program:
https://www.cartercenter.org/health/river_blindness/index.html

Founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in partnership with Emory University, The Carter Center is committed to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering. The Center wages peace, fights disease, and builds hope worldwide.

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