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The Carter Center

International Awards

Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services

History and Objectives:

The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; it seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health. While the details of every project may change, The Carter Center is guided by five principles:

1. The Center emphasizes action and results. Based on careful research and analysis, it is prepared to take timely action on important and pressing issues.
2. The Center does not duplicate the effective efforts of others.
3. The Center addresses difficult problems and recognizes the possibility of failure as an acceptable risk.
4. The Center is nonpartisan and acts as a neutral party in dispute resolution activities.
5. The Center believes that people can improve their lives when provided with the necessary skills, knowledge, and access to resources.

The Carter Center collaborates with other organizations, public or private, in carrying out its mission. The Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunities; preventing disease; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production.

Activities and Achievements:

A leader in the eradication and elimination of diseases, the Center fights six preventable diseases — Guinea worm, river blindness, trachoma, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria — by using health education and simple, low-cost methods. The Center also strives to improve access to mental health care.

These efforts have brought to resource-limited countries better disease surveillance and health care delivery systems. Because communities often are burdened by several diseases, the Center is also pioneering new public health approaches to efficiently and effectively treat multiple diseases at once.

In all its work, The Center places special emphasis on building partnerships with international agencies, governments, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, national ministries of health, and most of all, with people at the grass roots. Such partnerships help people acquire the tools, knowledge, and resources they need to transform their own lives, building a more peaceful and healthier world.

A summary of the Center’s accomplishments includes the following programs:

Guinea Worm Eradication program: The Carter Center leads a coalition that has reduced incidence of Guinea worm from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 21 countries in 1986 to fewer than 150 cases in four countries today, with the goal of making it the first disease since smallpox to be eradicated. The campaign has helped to establish village-based health delivery systems in thousands of communities that now have networks of health personnel and volunteers to provide health education and interventions to prevent other diseases as well.

River Blindness Program: The Center has distributed more than 170 million treatments for the disease in Africa and Latin America since the program’s inception in 1996, assisting ministries of health in 10 countries in Africa and the Americas. In 2001, Columbia became the first country to eliminate river blindness from within its borders with support from The Carter Center. The program stopped river blindness transmission from eight of the original 18 endemic areas in Uganda, as well as in Abu Hamad region in Sudan.

Trachoma Control Program: The Center currently works in six African countries to eliminate blinding trachoma by implementing the WHO-approved SAFE strategy for trachoma control. As part of the SAFE strategy, The Carter Center aids ministries of Health in training surgeons, operating treatment campaigns that have administered over 100 million doses of azithromycin, conducting grassroots education on transmission prevention in over 7,900 villages, and assisting local communities with construction of over 2.9 million household latrines.

Malaria Control Program: Carter Center-assisted malaria prevention efforts in Amhara Region in Ethiopia, including distribution of nearly 6 million insecticide treated bed nets, resulted in a significant decline in malaria prevalence from 4.6 percent in 2006 to 0.8 percent in 2011. Furthermore, The Carter Center expanded the program to Nigeria. The Center helped distribute nearly 14 million insecticide-treated bed nets in Ethiopia and Nigeria in 2012.

Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program: Staring in 2000, the Center has assisted in distributing nearly 33 million treatments during the first 11 years of the program. The program has ensured that transmission has stopped in Nigeria, and is showing significant gains in Ethiopia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Schistosomiasis Control Program: The center provides health education and treatment for schistosomiasis in the Nigerian states; Plateau, Delta, Edo and Nasarawa. As of 2011, the program has assisted over six million praziquantel treatments, most of which occurred from 2008-2011, and it continues to deliver treatments to 1 million people annually. As a result, there has been 94% and 88% decrease in bloody urine, the primary symptom of the disease, among children in Plateau and Nasarawa, respectively.

Mental Health Program: The Center works to promote awareness about mental health issues, inform public policy, and improve mental health care through this program, which is led by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. In Liberia, where post-civil war mental health care coverage once consisted of only one psychiatrist for the entire country, the Center has trained over 100 mental health clinicians to serve the 3.8 million Liberians in all 15 counties since 2011.

Peace Programs: The Carter Center has observed 94 elections in 37 countries to help establish and strengthen democracies. Areas where the Center has conducted election monitoring include Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and the historic independence referendum in Sudan. The Center undertakes a variety of activities to strengthen human rights around the world, which include hosting the annual Human Rights Defenders Policy Forum to discuss issues affecting the enjoyment of human rights, working closely with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and endorsing the International Criminal Court, and working to strengthen grassroots human rights groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Palestinian Territories. A nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization, the Center works to mitigate conflicts and build sustainable peace with access to world leaders and expertise in mediation, negotiation, and peace building. For almost 15 years, the Center’s Global Access to Information Initiative has helped advance passage, implementation, and enforcement of access to information and transparency in the Americas, Africa, and China. Through its programs, the Carter Center provides technical assistance to legislators and civil society advocates, initiates dialogue between opposing groups, and produces and publishes materials for mass distribution.

Internship program: For the 20-year history of the Internship program, the Center has provided over 2,000 interns with a rewarding complement to classroom experience to improve participants’ education in the field of public service. This past year alone, the Carter Center provided research and administrative opportunities for about 90 interns from around the world, including six from Gulf Cooperation Council member countries.

President Carter and the Carter Center maintain a long-standing commitment to the alleviation of human suffering through the application of voluntary services in populations under exceptional circumstances. President Carter and Rosalynn Carter directly offer their time to volunteering projects worldwide, including those aiming for promoting human rights, improving agricultural practices, and fighting disease. For this The Carter center volunteers its resources to countries in need swiftly and efficiently.

In view of the vast evidence of the Carter Center’s contributions, as well as the impressive success, through volunteerism, with its health programs, such as the Guinea Worm Eradication Program, the Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services is a well-deserved recognition for the Centre.