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Carlos Slim Joins Forces with Jimmy Carter for Cleaner Water in Latin America

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U.S. former President Jimmy Carter and Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim announced here an alliance aimed at ridding the Americas of onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness.

“This unique contribution from Carlos Slim further demonstrates Mexico’s global health leadership and the overall spirit of international commitment to ensure that all people in Latin America can enjoy the river blindness success we celebrate today in Mexico,” Carter said.

The former president’s Carter Center has been addressing the problem through the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas, or OEPA.

The OEPA initiative began with six countries: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Mexico recently declared victory in stopping the spread of river blindness, joining Colombia, Ecuador and Guatemala.

The Carlos Slim Foundation will cooperate with the Carter Center through OEPA to assist Brazil and Venezuela in eliminating the Americas’ last remaining redoubts of river blindness in the Amazon rain forest.

“We are proud to join The Carter Center in its partnership with affected countries to stop the scourge of this dreaded disease once and for all,” Slim said.

The World Health Organization has designated river blindness as one of 17 Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The illness is caused by a worm parasite transmitted through the bites of flies that breed along river banks.

Besides leading to eye problems, up to and including blindness, the disease can cause skin discoloration and disfigurement.

“Due to the dedication of the six ministries of health and thousands of community-based health workers, today the population at risk for river blindness in the Americas has been reduced by more than 95 percent,” the Carter Center said in a statement.

Carter and Mexican Health Secretary Mercedes Juan were set Friday to inaugurate the Inter-American Conference on Onchocerciasis.

Published in Latino Daily News


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    • Banderman

      Maybe Carter should do now what he didn’t do when President, focus his energies on America.

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