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River Blindness Eliminated in Guatemala

River Blindness Eliminated in Guatemala

IEF Oncho field worker in Guatemala
One of IEF's onchocerciasis field workers in Guatemala.
Guatemala has become the fourth country in the world to eliminate river blindness. The International Eye Foundation is proud to have played a key role in the beginning of the effort to control, and eliminate, this debilitating and blinding disease. In 1989 when Merck and Company made the miracle drug Mectizan® available for human use to treat river blindness (onchocerciasis), IEF pioneered the first community based Mectizan distribution program in Yepocapa, Guatemala with support from the River Blindness Foundation. In 1991, IEF's Director of Programs, Jack Blanks, moved to Guatemala to establish the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA). IEF's distribution program continued for three years and then became part of OEPA funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. IEF extends its congratulations to Guatemala and is proud of our part in this outstanding achievement. You can learn more from the  PAHO Press Release.

Man being led to Oncho treatment
A visually impaired man receives his Mectizan_ treatment in Yepocapa.

International Eye Foundation, 10801 Connecticut Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

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