President Jimmy Carter speaks at World Affairs Council 60th Anniversary event
Former President Jimmy Carter is in Seattle, having spoken last night at the World Affairs Council’s 60th anniversary celebration and speaking today at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about Guinea worm.
Mike Urban, mikeurbanart.com
A Nigerian woman with Guinea Worm
Guinea worm is a human parasite that eats its way through the human body and emerges a year later, incapacitating people with the pain of completing its life cycle. It’s horrible.
I’ve seen people with Guinea worm in Africa. Over the years, I’ve also seen what Jimmy Carter and his team at the Carter Center have done to come close now to completely ridding the world of this horrific disease.
It’s a great story, and perhaps of much broader significance to global health than many might realize.
Earlier this week, the Gates Foundation, major pharmaceutical companies and others announced a major $$785 million push against “neglected tropical diseases.” This was celebrated by Bill Gates, World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan and others as a critical turning point in global health. The Carter Center got some of the loot, $40 million of it, to finish off Guinea worm.
But in one sense, this push against neglected diseases got a good first shove nearly 30 years ago by Jimmy Carter. One look at the Carter Center’s website shows they got to this point, of recognizing the need to fight neglected diseases, decades ago.
Diseases like river blindness, Guinea worm, parasitic (lymphatic) elephantiasis and schistosomiasis have been in Carter’s cross hairs since the mid-1980s. Continue reading