Fighting Disease: Niger
Eradicating Guinea Worm Disease
Current Status:Transmission stopped, October 2008 (read the announcement)
Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication: Pending
Dracunculiasis, or Guinea worm disease, is a preventable parasitic infection contracted when a person ingests drinking water from stagnant sources containing copepods (commonly referred to as water fleas) that harbor infective Guinea worm larvae. Inside a person's body, the larvae grow for a year, becoming thin threadlike worms up to 1 meter long. These worms create agonizingly painful blisters in the skin through which they slowly exit the body, preventing the victim from attending school, caring for children, or harvesting crops. Learn more about the historic Carter Center-led campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease >
Since 1986, the Carter Center's Guinea Worm Eradication Program has led a world coalition fighting to eradicate this devastating disease. In Niger, The Carter Center has been working with the national program to eliminate Guinea worm disease since 1993. When the program began, five of Niger's six regions Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Tillaberi, and Diffa were endemic, hosting approximately 33,000 cases of Guinea worm disease in 1,700 villages. Read full text >
The leading cause of preventable blindness in the world, trachoma is an excruciating bacterial disease endemic to the poorest countries of the world. Although not typically a fatal disease, severe trachoma is disabling, debilitating, and eventually leads to blindness. The Carter Center supports trachoma control in six African countries in partnership with trachoma-endemic communities, ministries of health, the Lions Clubs International Foundation, Pfizer Inc., and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Learn more about the Carter Center's Trachoma Control Program >
In late 1998, The Carter Center capitalized on its experience and knowledge gained from the Guinea Worm Eradication Program to work with the government of Niger and partner organizations to implement trachoma control. National trachoma prevalence surveys conducted in Niger from 1997-1999 found the burden of trachoma to be concentrated in the regions of Zinder, Diffa, and Maradi. High prevalence of trachoma in children and trichiasis in adults indicated that trachoma was indeed a public health problem in Niger. Read full text >
Carter Center Photo: E. Staub
The Guinea worm pipe filter - a hard plastic straw covered at one end by filter material - is used to strain out the microscopic water fleas from the water, allowing people to protect themselves from contracting Guinea worm disease while they move from place to place.
Carter Center Photo: J. Zingeser
Constructing latrines in key locations improves community hygiene and sanitation. Salissou Kane, resident technical adviser for the Center's Nigerien trachoma program, demonstrates how the new latrines are covered.