I still remember my assignment in my MPH class. We were asked to do a presentation to the class on a common public health problem in our countries. I did one on Guinea worm. Having lived in Enugu for several years, a few kilometres from the epicenter in Nigeria in Ebonyi State, the images were very present in my mind. Yet I could not believe that half of the class had NEVER heard of the disease. I had never really thought of it as one of the classical examples of a disease of poverty….
Early this month I was sent a document from the WHO Collaborating Center for Research, Training and Eradication of Dracunculiasis at the CDC stating that….
“At the end of December 2009, Nigeria completed thirteen consecutive months with ZERO indigenous cases of dracunculiasis (guinea worm disease), thus having stopped transmission of the terrible disease after centuries and generations of untold suffering. Once home to more cases of dracunculiasis than any other country in the world, having enumerated 653,620 cases in 5,879 villages in 1988/89.”
Since its inception, Nigerian Guinea Worm Eradication Program benefited from early technical assistance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and early financial assistance by the UNICEF mission to Nigeria; sustained technical and financial assistance by The Carter Center; major in-kind donations by American Cyanamid/American Home Products/BASF (ABATE@Larvicide), DuPont Corporation and Precision Fabrics Group (nylon filter material), and the Government of Japan (vehicles, motorbikes) through the Carter Center; and major water supply project assistance by UNICEF and the Government of Japan; with substantial funding in later years by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through The Carter Center.
“The Government of Nigeria itself provided early leadership in its Federal Minister of Health, the late Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, and by donating two million dollars to The Carter Center for the Nigerian Guinea Worm Eradication Program.”
So since Kuti OUR Government has done nothing????
Find the full report here.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead