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Partnership Brings New Hope to Nigeria

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and businessman Sir Emeka Offor signed an agreement today for a partnership to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) from seven states in Nigeria where The Carter Center works with the Federal Ministry of Health, including Sir Emeka’s native state, Anambra. The project is made possible by grant support of USD$10 million from the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation. It will help reach the goal of eliminating river blindness from the world’s most endemic country by 2020.

River blindness, also known as onchocerciasis, is a parasitic infection that can cause intense itching, skin discoloration, rashes, and eye disease that often leads to permanent blindness. It is spread by the bites of small black flies that breed in rapidly flowing rivers. Nigeria is the most endemic country in the world for river blindness with over 40 percent global disease burden. WHO estimates that river blindness affects 17.7 million around the world, and of this number, about 270,000 are blind and another 500,000 have visual impairment.

Learn more about the Carter Center's River Blindness Program:
http://www.cartercenter.org/health/river_blindness/index.html

Learn more about the Carter Center's health work in Nigeria:
http://www.cartercenter.org/countries/nigeria-health.html

Learn more about the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation:
http://www.sireofforfoundation.org/

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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