January 12, 2017, 2:35 pm
By The Carter Center
In this exclusive interview, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter ventures behind-the-scenes of “Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease,” an exhibition created in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, open at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum through Oct. 9.
The exhibition highlights the challenges of eradicating neglected tropical diseases, and President Carter notes that he would “put an accent on the word ‘neglected.’” Before The Carter Center spearheaded the international campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease in 1986, “no one was addressing the problem, so we decided to take it on,” President Carter said. “Since then, we’ve expanded our interest from Guinea worm to several other neglected tropical diseases.”
Watch the interview below:
The video follows President Carter through the exhibition as he shares the intimate anecdotes behind the photos and artifacts on display, such as how he prompted the president of Ghana to take action against Guinea worm disease by suggesting a name change from Guinea worm to Ghana worm. “And now, we have zero cases in Ghana,” he said with a smile.
Ultimately, President Carter hopes the exhibition demonstrates what has been done, and what is still left to accomplish in the journey to eradicate neglected tropical diseases. “It’s a reminder of how serious a problem it is, and how possible it is to do away with this problem,” he said. “We hope that school children and adults and owners of pharmaceutical companies and everybody else who see this exhibit … will be wanting to help us accomplish this goal of doing away with these terrible diseases.”