Chad has waged a seesaw battle with Guinea worm disease since the 1990s. Transmission of the ancient disease was believed to have been stopped in 1999, but new cases were discovered and the country was reclassified as endemic in 2012. The Carter Center continues to work with village volunteers and Ministry of Health officials to eliminate the disease.
Current status: Endemic
Indigenous cases reported in 2016: 16
Previous status: Transmission stopped, 1999. Prior to 2012, Chad was in precertification status. Reclassified as endemic in 2012.
Elimination Activities, 1993-2000
When its Guinea worm elimination efforts began in 1993, Chad had 1,231 cases in 106 villages in six of the nine national provinces. The strategy for interrupting transmission focused primarily on educating residents about the origin of the disease and how to prevent it. The Carter Center provided technical and financial assistance.
Through these efforts, in 1999 the country had its last indigenous case and met the criteria for breaking transmission of Guinea worm disease (having reported no indigenous cases for 12 consecutive months). Chad was honored at a special ceremony at The Carter Center in Atlanta in 2000 for having stopped Guinea worm disease transmission.
After more than a decade with no indigenous cases reported, 10 cases of Guinea worm disease were found in eight villages during a World Health Organization precertification mission to Chad in July 2010. In 2011, when 10 additional cases were reported from nine different villages, Chad's Ministry of Public Health formally asked The Carter Center to assist with a revived Guinea Worm Eradication Program.
Having reported indigenous cases for the third consecutive year in 2012, Chad officially became one of the four remaining endemic countries (Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, and South Sudan) in the campaign to eradicate Guinea worm worldwide. In 2016, the country reported 16* cases compared to 9 cases in 2015.
A more recent challenge is a significant number of domestic dogs in Chad that have contracted Guinea worm infection. In Chad’s fishing villages, dogs eat raw fish or fish guts carrying Guinea worm larvae and are infected, even though they are not the parasite’s natural host. Volunteers trained by Chad’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program with the Carter Center’s help are educating people to bury their fishing waste rather than feed it to dogs. Cash rewards are being paid for reporting infected dogs and for keeping them away from water sources where the worms could reproduce.
From 2011-2015, program staff members enhanced surveillance by training more than 2,500 village volunteers in more than 880 villages.
The village volunteers teach techniques to prevent contamination of drinking water, provide free first aid, and immediately report cases to public health authorities. Monetary rewards for information leading to confirmation of Guinea worm cases are publicized through local radio stations, posters, and person-to-person networks
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Size: 1.284 million square kilometers (more than three times the size of the U.S. state of California)
Population below poverty line: 47 percent
Life expectancy: 50 years
Ethnic groups: Sara, Arab, Mayo-Kebbi, Kanem-Bornou, Ouaddai, Hadjarai, Tandjile, Gorane, Fitri-Batha, other, unknown
Religions: Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, animist, other, unknown, atheist
Languages: French (official), Arabic (official), Sara (in south), more than 120 different languages and dialects
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2013