Abu Hamad, a vast and isolated desert community 500 kilometers from the Sudanese capitol Khartoum, is on the verge of disproving a long-held belief among public health professionals that river blindness (onchocerciasis) cannot be eliminated in Africa due to poor health care delivery and the disease's prevalence.
In this three-part video journal, join Carter Center expert Dr. Moses Katabarwa and his colleagues from the Sudan Ministry of Health and Lions Clubs International Foundation in the field as they guide and support the pioneering community-based approach that has brought this debilitating and potentially blinding parasitic skin disease to the brink of elimination.
The multi-pronged strategy:
**enlist women and families to identify cases of the disease that need to be treated and work to prevent new cases;
**provide doses of the drug Mectizan® (ivermectin) twice a year to remove the microscopic worms in the body that are responsible for the disease;
**and integrate river blindness education in all facets of family and community life.
Traditionally, women have been the primary health caregivers in Abu Hamad, but their roles were diminished by the introduction of modern medicine, a male-dominated field. Today, local attitudes are changing again. Women make up half of the community's population, and therefore, their participation in the elimination effort is crucial. The team is excited to see women participating in the river blindness program like never before.
Learn more about this video journal series: http://cartercenter.org/news/features/h/river_blindness/sudan-video-journal-2010.html
Learn more about the Carter Center's River Blindness Program: http://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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