Warren Wilson graduate Daniel Shungu '65 went on to get his Ph.D. at University of Maryland College Park, then worked for years for the Merk Company Foundation. He felt the need to dedicate his work as medical professional to his native country of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He formed the United Front Against Riverblindness (UFAR), a U.S. based nonprofit dedicated to controlling the disease through community empowerment. Shungu developed a community-directed treatment plan using the drug Ivermectin, a safe, effective drug that is easily administered. Individual communities elect a representative, called a community distributor, to be trained by UFAR.
By enabling individual community members to fight the disease, the geographic scope of treatment is greatly increased and the community itself is enriched and empowered. Dr. Shungu is preparing for the official launch of the community-directed treatment initiative in the Kasongo region of the DRC. With over 2,000 trained community distributors and a supply of 600,000 Mectizan tablets, the UFAR is prepared to overcome this devastating disease and improve the health and well-being of the 941,409 people living in Kasongo.www.riverblindness.org