Utah Valley Global Health Group

A blog about global health for those living in Utah Valley and their friends.

Guinea Worm: The Next Small Pox by Kimi Rooney

Posted by benjamincrookston on April 8, 2008

Dracunculiasis, more commonly known as Guinea worm disease (GWD), is an infection caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis.  It is an incurable disease, yet it is completely preventable. It can be eradicated through education and cost-productive forms of providing clean water to the people like with cloth filters. There is also a lot of attention being given to the eradication effort. Just to name a few there are the Carter Center, Bill & Melinda Gates, UNICEF, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization all working on programs in the most endemic areas such as Uganda and Ghana. I believe with enough attention and participation Guinea worm will be the next debilitating disease to be completely eradicated from the world.


4 Responses to “Guinea Worm: The Next Small Pox by Kimi Rooney”

  1. Brooke Holmes said

    I also think it is definately feasible for guinea worm to be eradicated through education and proper use of filters. The reason the disease spread so rapidly in Ghana was because of lack of attention and funding during a crucial period when the disease spread at an alarming rate. Like you mentioned, it appears that the necessary players are gearing their focus towards eradication efforts and the effort seems promising.

  2. chads said

    Thanks, Kimi. Once again, it shows what can be accomplished when organizations from different backgrounds unite with a common goal.

  3. Shane Dayton said

    Guinea worm prevention needs greater attention in Northern Ghana. As a volunteer there I helped in checking the water filters provided by the Carter Foundation for holes and providing new filters to those whose filter was inadequate. There was a village volunteer (a local citizen) who had a stock of filters and who was trained to be able to remove guinea worm. Still, it seemed as though the villagers were dependent on foreign volunteers to check the filters for holes and to obtain new ones. I did not think about it at the time, but now am wondering about the sustainability of such prevention methods. Shouldn’t each individual be trained to check their own filter and take the initiative to obtain a new one when theirs is no longer useful? Perhaps there are other factors such as poor vision or perhaps the village volunteer is secretly charging a fee and pocketing the money. Such are issues that must considered when evaluating the efforts to eradicate Guinea Worm.

  4. chads said

    Thanks for your personal experience, Shane.

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