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Carter, Pfizer Commemorate 15th Anniversary Of International Trachoma Initiative

“As [former President] Jimmy Carter approaches 90, he is reaching for victory in a 15-year war against an infection spread by houseflies that blinds millions in developing countries and posed a threat to his own family and neighbors as a child on a Georgia farm,” Reuters reports (Pierson, 11/5). “Carter joined Pfizer [Tuesday] to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), an independent, not-for-profit program dedicated to the elimination of blinding trachoma as a public health concern,” an ITI press release states (11/5). “Largely through the combined efforts of the Carter Center and [the ITI], co-founded by Pfizer in 1998, blindness associated with the disease may have been eradicated in Morocco and Ghana,” Reuters writes. “But blinding trachoma remains a threat in other developing nations, especially Ethiopia, where almost a third of the population is considered at risk,” Reuters continues. “Trachoma, the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness, affects more than 20 million people worldwide, of whom about 2.2 million are visually impaired and 1.2 million are blind, according to the [WHO],” the news service notes (11/5).