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Despite the Odds: Distributing Medicine Deep in the Amazon (English)

Venezuela’s Ministry of Health and a coalition of partners led by the Carter Center's Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA) have joined forces to deliver health education and Mectizan®, donated by Merck, to indigenous Yanomami people at risk for river blindness (onchocerciasis), which causes unbearable itching and can lead to blindness.

Since 1996, OEPA has worked with the ministries of health of the six countries in the Americas affected by river blindness. Today, transmission of the disease in the Americas remains only in the hard-to-reach border area between Venezuela and Brazil.

See the challenges health teams face to reach the Yanomami — traveling by truck, boat, and foot deep into Amazon jungle on hazardous month-long treks to deliver essential medicine in the fight to eliminate river blindness.

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

Learn more about the Center’s OEPA Program:

Learn more about the Center’s River Blindness Elimination Program:

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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