by Phil Bolton | November 6, 2013
The campaign in Ethiopia to distribute a Pfizer Inc. drug that helps eliminate the blinding trachoma disease is to be celebrated on Sunday, Nov. 10, in the country’s Amhara Region.
The 100 millionth dose of Zithromax in Ethiopia is to be distributed during the ceremony that is to include representatives of the Ethiopian government, Pfizer, the Carter Center, the Decatur-based International Trachoma Initiative and other partners.
Former President Jimmy Carter attended the 15th anniversary of the International Trachoma Initiative at Pfizer headquarters in New York on Nov. 5.
“Through the 15-year partnership, millions of people worldwide will be spared the injustice, indignity and pain of their eyelashes scratching and scarring their eyes,” Mr. Carter said in a news release.
Pfizer has provided hundreds of millions of doses of the antibiotic Zithromax as its contribution to the global campaign to wipe out blinding trachoma by 2020.
Through the International Trachoma Initiative, Pfizer has donated more than 340 million doses of the antibiotic to prevent and treat trachoma in support of the World Health Organization’s 2020 campaign.
According to the news release, approximately 320 million people across the globe, though primarily in the poorest countries, are at risk for contracting trachoma, with about 7 million suffering from the advanced, blinding state of the disease.
Trachoma causes eyelids to run inward and damage the cornea. Women and children suffer most from the disease.
The Carter Center has assisted ministries of health in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Sudan and South Sudan to combat the disease over the course of the past 15 years.
The International Trachoma Initiative has distributed Zithromax in 28 countries in Africa and Asia since 1998.
Trachoma was eliminated in the U.S in the 1970s.