Major public health gains seen in river blindness control and community development.
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – At the latest meeting of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), the Non Governmental Development Organisations group (NDGO) noted that major gains fighting the disease (also known as river blindness) have been achieved. Over 60 million people worldwide have experienced significant symptomatic relief. Drug distribution systems have been proven to be effective, and community ownership of these health programs has inspired other developments in some of the remotest parts of the world, including in areas of conflict. Merck & Co., Inc.’s unprecedented donation of Mectizan®, (ivermectin), the drug that treats river blindness, for as long as is needed is a crucial component of this success.