Pan American Health and Education FoundationThe Pan American Health and Education Foundation

River Blindness Medication

More than 120 million people in 30 developing nations are at risk of contracting onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness, a disease of poverty that can rob people of their sight -- and therefore their livelihoods.

We are happy to report that progress is being made in the region:
  • the number of people at risk has decreased from more than 600,000 to around 508,400 people
  • the number of endemic communities is down to 1,953 from some 2,700 in the late 1990s.

Through the generosity of Merck & Co., Inc., PAHEF has partnered in the donation of more than $37 million worth of Mectizan tablets since 1989 — enough for nearly eight million treatments. Currently, Mectizan is reaching more than 400,000 people each year in the Americas.

Photo source: Enabling Access to Health in Latin America report. The Carter Center/Howard 




Although there have been improvements in the Americas, river blindness remains endemic in six countries: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela.

Read more about river blindness in the Americas and the Mectizan program:

Photo source: Enabling Access to Health in Latin America report.

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