ATLANTA (AP) — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter hopes a $10 million donation to combat river blindness in the country where it is most prevalent will spark a global effort to eliminate the disease.
Billionaire philanthropist Emeka Offor of Nigeria announced the donation to the Carter Center during an event there Friday. Carter Center officials said 40 percent of the world’s river blindness cases are in Nigeria.
Nigeria has set a 2020 goal to eliminate the disease that causes a rash or skin discoloration and eye disease that can lead to blindness. The larvae that cause the disease are transmitted by biting black flies.
Carter says Offor’s support will help gain influence with the Nigerian government. The center has worked in Nigeria since 1988 and plans to focus on seven states.