“With the resources, knowledge, and technology available to us today, there is little excuse for millions of people to continue to suffer from these preventable illnesses,” Carter said in written statement.
The center made progress in 2020 against the parasitic Guinea worm disease, one it has led the charge against and is close to eliminating.
It reported that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of human Guinea worm cases was cut in half to 27 human cases in six African countries in 2020. When the Carter Center began working on elimination in 1986, there were 3.5 million reported cases in 21 countries. The number of cases reported in animals was also down to about 1,600.
“The numbers we are seeing are very encouraging,” said Jason Carter, chair of the center’s board of trustees. “However, the target number is zero — a complete, sustained absence of human cases and infections in animals — and we will not stop pushing until we get there.”
Only one human disease has ever been eradicated. That was smallpox, in 1980.