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Sir Emeka Offor Foundation Applauds Progress in River Blindness Elimination Program

ABUJA, Nigeria, March 4, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, a non-governmental, philanthropic organization focused on youth employment, families, education, healthcare and infrastructure development, today announced new milestones are being reached in the fight against Onchocerciasis (River Blindness) in southeastern Nigeria. River Blindness is an eye and skin disease caused by a tiny worm called onchocerca volvulus, which is spread by the bite of an infected blackfly. It is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide.

After an initial donation of $250,000, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is working closely with The Carter Center on a range of initiatives, including dispensing millions of ivermectin (brand name Mectizan®) tablets. Ivermectin kills the larval Onchocerca volvulus worms that live under the skin tissue of an infected person. According to information provided by the Carter Center, nearly 14 million ivermectin tablets were dispensed in 2014, bringing the total number of villagers receiving the treatment to 80.7 million in and around the southeastern states.

"We are proud to be working in partnership with the Carter Center to rid our communities of this previously neglected disease," said Sir Emeka Offor. "Many people from our region, both middle-aged and older, have lost their ability to see and we often incorrectly associate their predicament with the curse of old age. It is hard to imagine that a small blackfly can inflict such darkness from a simple bite."

River Blindness is one of six preventable diseases the Carter Center is focused on eliminating. Others include guinea worm, trachoma, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria in Hispaniola. With the support of the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, the River Blindness Elimination Program uses health education and simple, low-cost methods. According to the Carter Center, the Nigeria National Onchocerciasis Control Program is now the world's largest Mectizan distribution program.

"In addition to making great strides toward eliminating River Blindness, the legacy of this effort will be improving disease surveillance and health care delivery systems throughout the region," Offor said. "These improvements will have profound impacts on the quality of life for future generations of Nigerians."

With the possibility of eliminating River Blindness from the region closer than ever, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is considering entering into an extended financial commitment with the Carter Center.

About the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation

The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is a philanthropic organization based in Oraifite, Anambra State, Nigeria. The Foundation seeks to alleviate the suffering of the less privileged through philanthropy, and focuses primarily on giving support and hope to those in need irrespective of tribe, creed, religion and nation. The Foundation has affected the lives of many Nigerians through its domestic programs and projects which include youth empowerment, widows cooperative, education, health service and infrastructure development. For more information, visit http://sireofforfoundation.org or like us at https://www.facebook.com/siremekaofforfoundation.

CONTACT: Dr. Edwin Ndukwe The Chrome Group Chief Communications Officer +234 709 812 4159 edwin.ndukwe@thechromegroup.netSource:Sir Emeka Offor Foundation