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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is visiting Haiti and the Dominican Republic to urge leaders in both countries to work together to rid the island they share of malaria.

Mr. Carter traveled to the island of Hispaniola, home to both nations, where officials say thousands of Haitians and Dominicans suffer from malaria each year.  The island is the only place in the Caribbean where malaria has not been eliminated.

The former U.S. president is also checking the progress of a project begun last year targeting malaria in two border towns - Dajabon, Dominican Republic and Ouanaminthe, Haiti.  Mr. Carter's foundation, the Carter Center, says the two towns represent the most important commercial exchange area on the Haiti-Dominican border.

The project has provided funding for supplies, health staff and technical assistance for the two communities.

The center says malaria is not only a health threat, but an economic one as well, costing the Dominican Republic an estimated $200 million in lost tourism due to an outbreak in 2004.



Some information for this report was provided by AP.