Haiti, Dominican Republic Leaders Aim To Eradicate Malaria, Lymphatic Filariasis By 2020, Funding Unclear

Leaders from Haiti and the Dominican Republic “agreed Thursday to cooperate in a campaign aimed at eradicating the last vestiges of malaria from the islands of the Caribbean by 2020,” but funding sources for the estimated $250 million effort are “uncertain,” the Associated Press reports. Former President Jimmy Carter –who assisted with the campaign, which aims to also eradicate lymphatic filariasis – “said he is confident a ‘constant commitment’ from the two countries will wipe out the two diseases,” the news service writes. “Since it’s been eliminated everywhere else (in the Caribbean), it’s obvious it can be eliminated here,” he said.

Carter traveled to the region this week with the goal of expanding a $200,000 pilot project aimed at curbing “the spread of the two diseases.” The project was established to by his organization, the Carter Center. “The project’s funding runs out in April, but Carter said he hopes by then both governments and private foundations can pick up the tab,” the AP writes.

In Haiti, about 30,000 people and “several thousand more across the border in the Dominican Republic suffer each year from malaria … Thousands more on Hispaniola are afflicted with lymphatic filariasis, another mosquito-borne illness that can incapacitate and disfigure those infected by swelling limbs to grotesque proportions,” according to the AP. The article includes some information about the impact of malaria on the islands (Bluestein, 10/9).