The Government of Saudi Arabia has donated three million riyals (about $666,666) to the Harvard Graduate School of Public Health for additions to its research laboratories.
The money was earmarked for facilities for research on the prevention of trachoma, bilharzia, and other debilitating diseases of the Middle East.
Snyder Meets With Faisal
John C. Snyder, dean of the School of Public Health, met personally with King Faisal of Saudi Arabia to solicit his assistance. Snyder said that the $7 million renovation and addition of floors to Harvard's Health Sciences Laboratories at 655 Huntington Avenue in Boston would have been impossible without the monarch's support.
Richard G. Leahy, assistant dean of the Faculty for Resources and Planning, said that the contribution from a foreign government to a research project in the United States was "a virtually unique occurrence at Harvard."
The diseases trachoma and bilharzia (schistosomiasis) are widespread in the Near East. Trachoma, a disease of the eye, infects 95 per cent of Saudi Arabian infants. Bilharzia, a parasitic disease, weakens those it attacks. In the Near East, it is almost as prevalent as malaria.