The Notre Dame Haiti Program and Cargill have renewed their partnership to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Haiti. Cargill’s three-year commitment will help to establish a sustainable salt-fortification venture in Haiti.
LF, also known as elephantiasis, is a mosquito-borne disease that affects over one million Haitians, and is the second leading cause of long-term disfigurement and disability worldwide. IDD affects over six million Haitians and is the world's most prevalent cause of cognitive impairment.
For over fifteen years, the Notre Dame Haiti Program (NDHP) has been focused on the elimination of LF from Haiti, reducing LF infection rates by over ninety-nine percent in some localities. In addition, for almost ten years, NDHP has also produced salt fortified with potassium iodate (iodine) and diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC) to address both LF and IDD.
After donating 100 tons of solar salt to NDHP in 2010, Cargill began providing technical and financial assistance to NDHP through a three-year agreement signed in 2012. As a result of that agreement, a first-of-its-kind salt processing facility was commissioned in December 2014 in a major step towards the goal of establishing a sustainable salt fortification venture in Haiti.
Given the achievements of the Cargill collaboration with
Jim Reimer, the NDHP salt project director, notes, “The collaboration with Cargill has been a tremendous assistance for the Haiti Program and a tremendous blessing for the people of Haiti. The opportunity to continue working together is exciting and sets the stage for helping millions of Haitians”.
Marcelo Montero, president of Cargill Salt, adds, “We are very proud for being able to humbly contribute to help the people of Haiti fight this terrible disease. Our commitment to this program and partnership with the University of Notre Dame exemplifies how Cargill Salt brings to life our company’s vision of being the global leader in nourishing people.”
Cargill became involved in the program several years ago after Haiti Program founder Rev. Tom Streit, C.S.C. visited Cargill Salt for assistance in salt fortification. “Call it serendipity, of course as a priest I want to call it Providence, but this relationship is very special,” Father Tom said at the event. “This is science in the service of humanity, but it is business in the service of humanity as well. I’m so very grateful for Cargill’s efforts in helping with this project.”