There are two other districts in the country that are showing success and could move away from mass treatments in the near future, he said.
“It’s definite progress,” Richards said, though there is a long road ahead. River blindness exists in more than 25 African countries and threatens 120 million people. The center began its work in 2013, and other countries are at work to eliminate it, but it will take probably decades.
The Carter Center helped bring river blindness to its knees in the Western Hemisphere. The disease ranged from southern Mexico to to northern South America. Richards helped lead a campaign that eliminated it except for a small remote area on the border of Brazil and Venezuela.
The Carter Center is trying to close in on a second illness it is helping eliminate, Guinea worm disease. When it started in 1986, there were 3.5 million cases in 21 countries in Africa and Asia.
The center reported Wednesday that 53 cases were reported in 2019.
The disease is now restricted to Chad, South Sudan, Angola and Cameroon. No human cases have been reported for two years in Ethiopia or four years in Mali, but the two countries are still considered endemic.
Atlanta has become a world center for international health, with organizations such as The Carter Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Task Force for Global Health, CARE, MAP International, regional medical schools and other organizations.