$25 million closer to Guinea worm eradication
After reducing the incidence of Guinea worm disease by more than 95.5 percent worldwide over the past two decades, the Carter Center this spring made a huge leap toward its goal of finally eradicating the parasitic disease when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $25 million toward completing the task.
The Gates Foundation's grant will provide an initial $5 million and challenges other donors to give an additional $20 million, which the foundation will match dollar for dollar. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has pledged $5 million in response, and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has pledged $1 million. When the challenge has been met, $45 million will have been committed to eradicating Guinea worm.
"The last cases of Guinea worm disease are the most crucial, difficult, and expensive to contain," said former U.S. President and Emory Distinguished Professor Jimmy Carter. "The new peace agreement between northern and southern Sudan and the recent Gates Foundation challenge grant will help us secure the remaining access and resources needed to finish the job."
The major grant came just weeks after President Carter, who celebrated his eightieth birthday last year, and his wife, Rosalyn, announced they would step down as chair and vice chair of the Board of Trustees of the Carter Center. The move is part of a planned shift in governance of the center. The new board chair is John Moores, who has served on the board since its creation in 1994. Moores is a San Diego businessman, owner of the San Diego Padres, and recent chair of the California Board of Regents.—P.P.P.