The Carter Center, founded by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter decades ago, funds and organizes health programs (among many other things) around the world. This, from their website, relates the work of Kate Orji as a Community-Directed Distributor (of medicine). She has been doing this since 1995, providing essential medications to residents of her village, Umudurudu, to prevent disease. Armed only with two logbooks, a flipbook, two drug bottles, a spoon, and a pen, she visits 86 households twice a year.
The modest contents of her plastic bag are the only tools Orji needs to halt these two parasitic diseases. Targeting river blindness, the drug Mectizan® (donated by Merck & Co., USA) kills the parasite larvae in the human body, preventing blindness and skin disease in infected people and stopping transmission of the parasite to others. When taken in combination with Mectizan, albendazole prevents lymphatic filariasis, a devastating disease that often causes grotesque swelling in legs and genitalia.
Her long tenure as a CDD exemplifies one of the benefits of women in the position: they tend to be more stable and reliable than men, who sometimes leave their communities in search of work or other opportunities. A recent study by the University of Jos in Nigeria suggested that recruiting more women as CDDs would be beneficial because they also are better at mobilizing their fellow community members into action.
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