Fighting Disease: Nigeria
Eradicating Guinea Worm Disease
Current Status: Transmission stopped, November 2008 (read the announcement)
Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication: Pending
Since 1988, the Carter Center's Guinea Worm Eradication Program has worked with the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health to spare thousands of people suffering from this devastating disease. Read full text >
Nigeria is the most endemic country in the world for river blindness (onchocerciasis), accounting for as much as 40 percent of the global disease burden. It is estimated that up to 27 million Nigerians living in 32 endemic states need treatment for river blindness. Read full text >
Nigeria is the most endemic country for lymphatic filariasis in Africa, and the third most endemic country in the world, with about 25 million people at risk (22 percent of the population). In 1998, at the invitation of the Federal Ministry of Health and the state ministries of health of Plateau and Nasarawa states, The Carter Center helped the two states establish a Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program. The goal was to demonstrate that lymphatic filariasis transmission could be interrupted in one of the world's worst affected areas, and in so doing make the case for elimination from the rest of Africa. Read full text >
The national program estimates that more than 61 million people are at risk for trachoma in Nigeria. With support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, The Carter Center and the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health began working with state and local health authorities to implement trachoma control programs in Plateau and Nasarawa states in 2000. Since these states already supported Guinea worm eradication, lymphatic filariasis elimination, and control efforts for river blindness and schistosomiasis, the integration of trachoma control was a logical next step and began in 2009. Read full text >
In partnership with Nigerian health authorities, the Carter Center's Schistosomiasis Control Program works to help control schistosomiasis in Edo, Delta, Nasarawa, and Plateau states, integrating the treatment of several diseases at once. Read full text >
More deaths from malaria occur in Nigeria than in any other country; approximately one-third of the estimated 660,000 children who die annually from malaria worldwide are Nigerian. Read full text >
Working hand in hand with Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Agriculture, The Carter Center, in partnership with the Sasakawa Africa Association, assisted Nigerian farmers in nine states with agricultural production starting in 1993. The program provided farmers with credit for fertilizers and enhanced seeds to grow test plots, which often yielded 200 to 400 percent more crops than more traditional methods. Participating farmers went on to teach others, creating a ripple effect to stimulate self-sufficiency.
The program was part of a larger partnership led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug that helped over 8 million small-scale sub-Saharan African farmers in countries where malnutrition is a constant threat.
The Carter Center ended its agricultural activities in Nigeria in 2011.
In November 2008, Nigeria reported its last case of Guinea worm disease in 58-year-old Grace Otubu in Ezza Nkwubor village in southeastern Nigeria. After 13 consecutive months of no further reported cases of Guinea worm disease, Nigeria announced officially it had stopped disease transmission, breaking a centuries-old cycle that once burdened the nation more than any other country on earth.
In Nasarawa state, Nigeria, 35-year-old Zaki Baushe's job as a tailor was hindered by his poor eyesight caused by the parasitic disease river blindness. After Carter Center-supported health education and annual doses of the Merck-donated drug Mectizan® to treat river blindness, Baushe is now able to thread a needle and provide for his family.
A unique component of the Carter Center's work against lymphatic filariasis in Nigeria is to hold first-of-its-kind support groups where people suffering from the disease can come together and discuss the physical challenges and social stigma of this disfiguring condition.
In 2010, in Aloshi village in central Nigeria, 4-year-old David Nuhu became the first person in Nigeria to receive treatment for the blinding bacterial infection trachoma. In Nigeria, Carter Center-supported trachoma control activities focus on three ways to prevent blinding trachoma: encouraging face and hand washing, improving environmental sanitation, and mass drug administration of the antibiotic Zithromax® (donated by Pfizer Inc.) to treat this bacterial infection.
Lab scientist Solomon Izang tests 10-year-old Dorcas Azi for malaria in Fobur village. The Azi family, living on the outskirts of Fubor village, Nigeria, has been disproportionately afflicted with malaria. In 2010, at the request of the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health, the Center began scaling up activities to include bed net distribution to villagers such as the Azis, as well as health education and assistance with monitoring and evaluation of the program.
The Carter Center, in partnership with the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health, has developed an innovative way of simultaneously treating several parasitic diseases in Nigeria. In this approach — known as triple-drug administration — a health worker gives a community member three different medicines at one time that in combination treat river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and several kinds of intestinal worms.