Fighting Disease: Sudan and South Sudan
The information below references achievements that took place in the region that now encompasses Sudan and South Sudan, the latter of which achieved independence in July 2011. Areas referenced as Sudan or northern Sudan refer to the current Republic of the Sudan, and areas referenced as South Sudan or southern Sudan refer to areas now known as the Republic of South Sudan.
Eradicating Guinea Worm Disease
Current Status: Last case since 2001
Current status: Endemic
Indigenous cases reported in 2014: 70
Surveillance report for December in South Sudan is partial as program operations were suspended on Dec. 15, 2013.
Since 1995, The Carter Center has worked to help reduce cases of Guinea worm disease in Sudan and South Sudan through its Guinea Worm Eradication Program. Since 2002, no indigenous cases had been reported in northern Sudan (now the Republic of Sudan). However, a small outbreak of three cases were reported in Sudan in 2013, which are being investigated.
Despite the severe conditions the South Sudanese people experienced as a result of the civil war, there has been great progress in reducing their number of cases. The incidence of Guinea worm disease has been reduced from 118,578 cases in all of Sudan in 1996 to 70 cases reported in South Sudan in 2014. Read full text >
The Carter Center began assisting Sudan's river blindness (onchocerciasis) program in 1995 and formally established a presence in 1997 by securing funding from the Lions Clubs International Foundation to support activities in both northern and southern Sudan as part of The Carter Center's plan to use health as a bridge to peace. After the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended the decades-old civil war and created the semiautonomous Government of Southern Sudan, the Carter Center's River Blindness Program in South Sudan was handed over to the new Ministry of Health in the ministry's effort to rationalize and consolidate health activities. However, at the request of the ministry, The Carter Center Guinea worm eradication and trachoma elimination efforts continued in partnership with the government of South Sudan. Read full text >
Since 1999, The Carter Center has assisted the trachoma control program in Sudan in collaboration with the government, nongovernmental organizations, and funding partners. This collective effort has enabled trachoma prevalence mapping and implementation of SAFE strategy interventions. SAFE represents the four-pronged strategy to eliminate blinding trachoma as a public health problem, consisting of Surgery for those at imminent threat of blindness (trichiasis), Antibiotics for annual treatment, Face washing, and Environmental sanitation (latrines). Read full text for Sudan > | Read full text for South Sudan >
The Carter Center worked in Sudan from 1986 to 1992 to teach 8 million small-scale farm families superior farming techniques to increase grain crop yields by as much as four times. Led by the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, the program was a joint venture between The Carter Center and the Sasakawa Africa Association. The program provided farmers with credit for fertilizers and enhanced seeds to grow test plots, often yielding 200 to 400 percent more crops. Participating farmers went on to teach others, creating a ripple effect to stimulate self-sufficiency. One notable success was for the period from 1985-1986 to 1991-1992, when wheat production increased by over 950 percent compared to the base year 1984-1985 and met country demand in 1991-1992.
Additionally, the program identified less costly, more efficient harvesting methods and local markets for these surpluses. The five-year project in Sudan was completed in 1992.
Guinea Worm's Last Stand: Southern Sudan
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Jimmy Carter Campaigns To End Guinea Worm
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Carter Center Photo: E. Staub
Joseph Bringi Recardo, age 60, a fisherman from the Shara tribe in Sudan, contracted river blindness while working at his trade. He and his wife, Rosa, are both blind from onchocerciasis. The black flies that carry the disease breed in fast-flowing rivers, often where people go to fish or farm the fertile ground.
Carter Center Photo: J. Zingeser
Shuluk woman blinded by trachoma. The World Health Organization estimates 6 million people, mostly women, are blind due to this entirely preventable disease. To prevent more women and men from suffering painful and irreversible blindness, The Carter Center and partners promote the SAFE strategy in Sudan and other trachoma-endemic countries.
Carter Center Photo: L. Gubb
A young goat herder in Kuse Dam, South Sudan, uses a pipe filter provided by The Carter Center to strain out the infective Guinea worm larvae from the water he drinks. More than 9 million of these simple tools have been distributed for nomadic people who often travel from water source to water source.