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University of Notre Dame Receives A $5,211,800 Grant From The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Grant will be used to research, treat and eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Mike Garvey
Phone: 219.631.7367

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The University of Notre Dame has received a $5,211,800 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a five-year pilot program to research, treat and eliminate a particularly virulent tropical disease in Haiti.

The program, entitled "Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti," will be directed by Rev. Thomas G. Streit, C.S.C., research assistant professor of biological sciences at Notre Dame. "We are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for this grant, which will directly benefit not only scientific research, but the health of Haiti and the whole world as well," said Notre Dame president Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C. "The expansion of a global market of ideas and products will continue to bring with it many new challenges, not the least of which will be the exposure of new populations to exotic microbial infections. This generous grant will enable us to address one of these challenges in a comprehensive way, establish new treatments, and, we hope, create a model program for other nations."

Some 150 million people in the tropics suffer from lymphatic filariasis, a parasitically borne disease which causes the condition known as elephantiasis. While the disease is rarely fatal, it permanently maims and disfigures its victims, imposing an excruciating economic, social and personal burden. The disease, which the World Health Organization hopes to eliminate globally by 2020, has been endemic in Haiti at least since the 17th century.

The Notre Dame program will be headquartered in Hopital Ste. Croix, the 120 bed general hospital and health care network serving Leogane, a Haitian community of some 200,000 people.

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