Ghana commended for eradicating guineaworm

26th Jan 2015 How many of you knew that Ghana has officially eradicated Guinea worm? If you didn’t, well, now you do. The nation has been warmly commended by former president of the United States Jimmy Carter and his foundation, the Carter Center.

President Carter is quoted as saying “Ghana’s triumph over Guinea worm disease serves as a reminder to the world and the remaining endemic countries that the greatest challenges can be overcome with hard work, political commitment, and the support of the international community,”

The ex president said his first experience of the disease was during his visit to Denkyira, a village near the Ghanaian capital Accra, in March 1988. His foundation had begun leading the international Guinea worm eradication campaign just two years before and Ghana was one of the Carter Center’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program’s first country partners.

A team of experts was sent by WHO to Ghana in July 2014 to check if transmission of the disease had continued or whether it had been interrupted for three or more years after the last indigenous case was reported. Following their report, Ghana was officially notified of their Guinea worm free status on the 14th of January, 2015, with a letter from WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan. The WHO is the only organization that can officially certify the eradication of a disease.

Guinea worm disease or dracunculiasis is a painful disease with no cure or treatment. However, concerted efforts by local and international organizations are seeing it being progressively eradicated through health education such as teaching people to filter all drinking water and preventing anyone with the sickness from contact with water sources.

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