Target: President Juan Manuel Santos and the people of Colombia
Goal: Applaud Colombia for being the first in the Americas to eliminate river blindness
River blindness, also known as Robles disease, is a parasitic disease caused by infection by a roundworm. It is the second leading infectious cause of blindness in the world. Colombia has become the first country in the Americas to eliminate river blindness and is the first country in the world to apply for and be granted verification of elimination of river blindness by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to a Carter Center press release.
Former United States President Jimmy Carter founded the Carter Center, which has led campaign to wipe out river blindness in Latin America through its Onchocerciasis Elimination Program of the Americas (OEPA). Hearing the good news that Colombia has eliminated river blindness, the former president congratulated President Juan Manuel Santos and the people of Colombia. “Colombia’s achievement demonstrates that a future free from river blindness is possible for everyone in the Americas, and is an inspiration for the Carter Center’s recent commitment to not only control the spread of river blindness but to eliminate the disease wherever we are fighting it in Africa,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
Alba Lucia Morales, a health education adviser with the Center’s OEPA and a Colombian national, said that the Colombia river blindness program “did more than just rid the country of a horrible disease.” He continued to say that “the river blindness elimination program ended a disease and created hope.” The program helped empower people to take on other community improvement projects, and even helped construct a school. Sign the petition to applaud Colombia for being the first to eliminate river blindness and by doing so, creating hope within the nation and for other countries that are combating river blindness.
Dear President Juan Manuel Santos and the people of Colombia,
President Carter congratulated you for being the first in the Americas to eliminate river blindness. It is an impressive feat that will inspire other countries that are still combating river blindness to do the same.
River blindness is the second leading infectious cause of blindness in the world. Your decades-long commitment to ending the disease has inspired change in your community as well as in the world. I would like to thank you for setting a good example for others to follow.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Durova via Wikimedia Commons