Jimmy Carter on the attempts to cure major diseases

While I have my criticisms of some aspects of Jimmy Carter’s record while he was president, there is no question that he was one of the better ones in recent times and has been doing some good work since returning to private life. The former president spoke with Jon Stewart about the efforts, in which his own center has participated, that have led to the almost complete eradication of the awful disease caused by the guinea worm.

In 1986, the disease afflicted an estimated 3.5 million people a year in 21 countries in Africa and Asia. Today, thanks to the work of The Carter Center and its partners — including the countries themselves — the incidence of Guinea worm has been reduced by more than 99.99 percent to 126 cases in 2014.

He also spoke of attempts to cure other diseases like river blindness, trachoma, and schistosomiasis that ravage millions of people in parts of Africa and Asia. Many of these diseases are caused due to the lack of access to clean water for many, many people around the world.

He also spoke about politics, especially how the terrible plight of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation has led to the radicalization of so many people.

(This clip aired on January 1, 2015. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)


  1. caseyrock says

    Sometimes I agree with Carter and sometimes I don’t. When it comes to eradicating disease, I agree that common public health measures are where things should start. That said, public health infrastructure requires first a stable government. There is a lot of work to be done.

  2. lpetrich says

    Looks like the guinea worm, Dracunculus medinensis, is headed for extinction. It’s a nematode that can grow as much as a meter long, huge by nematode standards. Most grow only a few mm long. Its Linnaean name name was invented by Carolus Linnaeus himself, meaning the “little dragon from Medina”.

    It will join the smallpox virus, which is now extinct in the wild.

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