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Real Lives, Real Change: Guinea Worm Eradication Program

Wiping Out Guinea Worm Disease

Using data-driven measurements and monitoring — and working closely with federal ministries of health and affected communities — the Carter Center-led Guinea worm eradication campaign has driven the global incidence of Guinea worm disease down more than 99.99 percent since 1986. Learn More

For Mali Health Minister, Guinea Worm Campaign is Personal

Dr. Marie Madeleine Togo is the minister of health for the Republic of Mali, responsible for protecting her almost 17 million fellow citizens from all kinds of diseases and dangers. That covers a lot of people and myriad maladies, but her work to eliminate Guinea worm disease goes beyond a professional interest in public health. Learn More

Carter Center Slideshow | Erasing Disease

By spearheading eradication and elimination programs, The Carter Center works to wipe out preventable diseases in ways that help people acquire the tools, knowledge, and resources they need to transform their own lives. Learn about five Carter Center health programs working to make preventable diseases a distant memory. Learn More

Wiping Out Guinea Worm

Using data-driven measurements and monitoring — and working closely with federal ministries of health and affected communities — the Carter Center-led Guinea worm eradication campaign has driven the global incidence of Guinea worm disease down to only 22 cases reported in 4 endemic countries in 2015, a reduction of more than 99.99 percent since 1986. Learn More

Mapping a Scourge

See where cases of Guinea worm were reported in 2015 and what the Center is doing to wipe them out. Learn More

Reaching Zero is Programs' Goal

In 1999, Guinea worm disease took Nigerian farmer Abdullahi Rabiu to the edge. With a reported 84 worms exiting his body through skin blisters, Rabiu could do little more than hope to survive. Learn More

Meet Abdullahi Rabiu: The Man with the Most Guinea Worms

It is difficult to reconcile Abdullahi Rabiu with the world record he is believed to hold. An athletic feat or sportsman's event seems likely. But could this incredibly fit, healthy, energetic Nigerian really be the man known for having the most Guinea worms emerge from his body at one time? No one else is lining up to lay claim to his title or number: 84. Learn More

Al Jazeera Profiles Guinea Worm Health Heroes in 'How to Slay a Dragon'

The Carter Center's pioneering efforts to eradicate Guinea worm disease in South Sudan are featured in the documentary "Lifelines: How to Slay a Dragon," which was broadcast outside the United States on Al Jazeera English. Learn More

Carter Center Slideshow: Meet Antonella Awanja Lomong'o: On the Front Lines Against Guinea Worm

As a young Kenyan nurse, posted over ten years ago to a remote mission hospital in war-torn southern Sudan, Antonella Lomong'o was horrified by her first encounter with Guinea worm disease. "I saw this woman come crawling across the floor, crying out in pain," Lomong'o remembered. "She had several worms hanging off her leg, and I was shocked. I'd never seen this before." Learn More

Carter Center Slideshow: Simple Measures, Big Results

A leader in the eradication and elimination of diseases, The Carter Center is fighting six preventable diseases — Guinea worm, river blindness, trachoma, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria — by using health education and simple, low-cost methods. The following slideshow illustrates some of the fundamental tools and approaches used by The Carter Center to help build a healthier and more peaceful world. Learn More

CARTER CENTER: 148 Cases of Guinea Worm Disease Remain Worldwide

The Carter Center announced today that 148 Guinea worm cases were reported worldwide in 2013. These provisional numbers, reported by ministries of health in the remaining four endemic nations and compiled by the Center, show that cases of the debilitating disease were reduced by 73 percent in 2013 compared to 542 cases in 2012. When the Center began leading the first international campaign to eradicate a parasitic disease, there were an estimated 3.5 million Guinea worm cases occurring annually in Africa and Asia. Learn More

Carter Center Slideshow: Piercing Guinea Worm's Stronghold in South Sudan

When The Carter Center began leading the battle against Guinea worm disease in 1986, some 3.5 million children and adults around the world suffered from it. Today the disease affects fewer than 200 people in isolated pockets of Sub-Saharan Africa. One of those places is South Sudan’s Equatoria State, where the South Sudan Guinea Worm Eradication Program — assisted by the Center and partners — is mounting an all-out effort to track down and treat every case and prevent new ones from breaking out. This story takes us to the frontlines where one of the final battles is taking place: Mogos, South Sudan. Learn More

Guinea Worm Campaign Closes In on Success

With fewer than 1,100 worldwide cases of Guinea worm disease reported in 2011, and fewer than 600 cases expected during 2012, experts believe the quarter-century-long eradication campaign, led by The Carter Center, is at a crucial tipping point. Learn More

Meet Dr. Nabil Aziz Mikhail: Tireless Warrior Against Guinea Worm Disease, River Blindness in Sudan

Ask about the time he nearly died from cerebral malaria during a Guinea worm surveillance trip, or his supervisory visit to a town under siege, or the nights he spent stuck in a car with no food, little water, and once with three flat tires, and Dr. Nabil Aziz Mikhail will tell you he doesn't like to sit in his office Learn More

The Carter Center at 30: Leader in Disease Eradication and Elimination

he Carter Center has become a global leader in the eradication and elimination of diseases, focusing efforts to build health and hope in some of the poorest and most isolated places on earth. Learn More

Real Lives Real Change: Meet Dr. Zerihun Tadesse Gebrelassie

Zerihun Tadesse Gebrelassie barely remembers his mother rushing his baby brother to a hospital in Ethiopia. Many patients, long lines, and few health workers made her wish she had a relative — maybe one who was a nurse — who could help her son. His little brother survived, but Dr. Zerihun says his mother never forgot that scene. Learn More

Salissou Kane: Niger's Trachoma Control Campaign Employs Lessons Learned in Guinea Worm Fight

Completely eliminating a disease from a country twice the size of Texas is no easy task. Salissou Kane, the Carter Center's country representative for Niger learned this time and again during more than two decades fighting Guinea worm in his homeland. Now that the disease has been wiped out nationwide, Kane is using his hard-won knowledge of Niger's complex multicultural communities to tackle to the bacterial eye disease trachoma. Learn More

Carter Center Slideshow: One Case at a Time: The End of Guinea Worm in Ghana

Once the second-most endemic country in the world, Ghana has stopped transmission of Guinea worm disease with no new cases of the parasitic disease reported for a full year in 2011. With an estimated 180,000 cases in 1989, Ghana’s successful grassroots elimination efforts have resulted in the promise of hopeful, productive lives for its citizens. Learn More

Profile: Dr. Andrew Seidu Korkor

When Dr Andrew Seidu Korkor describes the debilitating pain caused by Guinea worm disease and how it devastates communities, he's not just making a professional observation. For this national manager of Ghana's Guinea Worm Eradication Program it's personal. Learn More

Sadi Moussa: Public Health Worker Begins Third Decade of Improving Lives, Battling Guinea Worm and Trachoma in Mali

"I think I have something to share with another country" says Sadi Moussa, explaining why he recently relocated to Mali to help tackle public health problems after almost two decades doing similar work in his home country of Niger. Learn More

Thon Mayom: Case Containment Center Offers Hope, Relief for Boy

At bedtime, under a blue mosquito net, two boys lie on a mat and whisper secrets from the day just passed. Six-year-old Thon Mayom falls asleep quickly. He is exhausted from two sessions that day to treat a worm emerging from his knee. His 5-year-old brother, Mawut, drifts off to sleep too. His job is to look after his big brother during the difficult treatment. Learn More

Guinea Worm Disease Campaign Nears Eradication Goal

Former U.S. President and Carter Center Founder Jimmy Carter announced today that only three endemic countries remain in the fight against Guinea worm disease, poised to be only the second disease in history—after smallpox—to be eradicated. Learn More

Nomadic Groups Pose Challenge for Fighting Guinea Worm in Southern Sudan

The lives of an estimated 70 percent of the people living in Southern Sudan are intrinsically entwined with their cattle. Learn More

Guinea Worm Eradication Efforts Gain Further Momentum With Significant Case Reductions in 2009

The Carter Center-led drive to eradicate Guinea worm disease gained significant momentum in 2009, with an all-time low of 3,190* total cases reported -- a 31 percent decrease from 2008. Learn More

Village Volunteer Viviana Kolong Works to Protect Her Community from Debilitating Disease

It is early morning in Molujore village of Terekeka County in Southern Sudan, and Viviana Kolong, a 30-year-old mother of three, dresses carefully in a cool, yellow and white cotton dress and orange flip flops, adding a black bracelet and white beaded rosary to complete her outfit. As the wind picks up and the temperature starts its punishing rise, Kolong leaves her mud hut, passing by her home's empty grain stores. As usual, it will be a long day. Learn More

Gen. Dr. Yakubu Gowon Stands as Hero in Guinea Worm Eradication

The last case of Guinea worm disease in Nigeria was suffered by Grace Otubu, 58, of Ezza Nkwubor village in Enugu state, whose worm emerged in November 2008. Twelve months later, Nigeria triumphed over the ancient, crippling affliction, also known as dracunculiasis, that had affected hundreds of thousands of Nigerians at its peak. The success of Africa's most populous nation against this debilitating waterborne parasite would not have been possible without the hard work of the endemic communities, the relentless vigilance of the national program, and the dedication of Gen. Dr. Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria's former head of state. Learn More

Guinea Worm Disease: Nigeria's Last Case

In Ezza Nkwubor village in southeastern Nigeria, 58-year-old Grace Otubo sits on a wooden bench and touches her right heel, recalling where a Guinea worm painfully emerged in November 2008. She didn't know it at the time, but her Guinea worm would be the last one from Nigeria. Learn More

Young Patient Exhibits Bravery Beyond His Years in Unusual Guinea Worm Case

Five-year-old Lotepi Lokusi's mother was worried. Although she knew it was common for a Guinea worm to emerge from a foot or an ankle, she had never seen one migrate to the face. Clearly visible just under his skin--from one jaw line to the other — a Guinea worm was winding its way higher each day, toward her little boy's scalp. Learn More

Ghanaian Reggae Artist Sings Out Against Guinea Worm Disease, Educates Concert-Goers About Prevention

It is dusk in northern Ghana and communities reverberate with the local mosque's call to prayer. The setting sun has fallen beyond the concrete buildings that flank the market square, casting everyone in deep purple shadow. Thousands of people are making their way to this rural outpost, the current epicenter of the country's decades-long battle to eradicate Guinea worm disease. Learn More

Health Director Relishes Everyday Victories

For Craig Withers, the Carter Center's director of program support, the bumblebee is the perfect symbol of success. Learn More

Carter Center Slideshow: Sadia's Story Revisited: Triumph Over Guinea Worm

In 2007, Sadia Mesuna—a young girl from Savelugu town in Northern Ghana—spent two agonizing months in a Carter Center Guinea worm containment center with 20 other children suffering from the disease. Today, Sadia, 7, is Guinea worm-free and has returned to school. This is her story of triumph and a new life without fear. Learn More

Sadia Revisited: A Young Girl's Triumph Over Guinea Worm Disease

In 2007, Sadia Mesuna—a young girl from Savelugu town in Northern Ghana—spent two agonizing months in a Carter Center Guinea worm containment center with 20 other children suffering from the disease. Today, Sadia, 7, is Guinea worm-free and has returned to school. This is her story of triumph and a new life without fear. Learn More

Guinea worm cases drop to fewer than 10,000

The countdown to complete elimination of Guinea worm disease is ticking closer to zero. Ethiopia, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo now have joined the list of countries reporting an end to transmission of the disease. The Carter Center leads the international coalition fighting the disease. Learn More

Profile: Hubeida Iddirisu Free From Guinea Worm Disease, Girl Tends to Family, Chores

A little more than a year ago, 10-year-old Hubeida Iddirisu faced long days of pain as three Guinea worms began to emerge from blisters on her body. Every day for two weeks, a volunteer came to her home in Savelugu town, Ghana, to extract the worms slowly by rolling them on pieces of gauze, a little each day. As is the case with most Guinea worm disease victims, Iddirisu was unable to handle her household tasks while the worms were emerging. Her family relies on her income from selling charcoal. Learn More

To Guinea Worms, Ruiz-Tiben is Top Foe

Fifteen years ago, Dr. Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben, then in his early 50s, was contemplating retirement. He had served 27 years as a commissioned officer of the U.S. Public Health Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was thinking about starting a new career and traveling. Learn More

Inspired by Health Challenges, Doctor Works Miracles in Burkina Faso

As a child growing up in the small village of Dakore in Burkina Faso, Dr. Dieudonné Sankara saw firsthand the debilitating affects of Guinea worm disease. Learn More

Carter Center Slideshows: Sadia's Story

A few days in the life of a Ghanaian child shows the disabling misery caused by Guinea worm disease, which The Carter Center has been campaigning to eradicate for 22 years. In early 2007, there was a massive outbreak of the disease in Ghana, with Savelugu, Sadia's hometown, located in the Northern Region, at its epicenter. In response, the national program - in partnership with The Carter Center - set up Guinea worm case containment care centers to identify, treat, and educate the victims, most of whom are children. Here is Sadia's story: Learn More

Many Forgotten Diseases, One Integrated Approach

To help combat neglected tropical diseases suffered by millions of people, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $10 million to fund two groundbreaking Carter Center initiatives in Nigeria. Learn More

Miss Ghana Vows to Fight Guinea Worm Disease in Her Home Country

In the community of Tampiong in northern Ghana, Miss Ghana 2005, Lamisi Mbillah, balanced on her high heel sandals, lifts a small black pipe filter above her head so that the hundreds of school children surrounding her could see it. She selects a shy little boy from the crowd to demonstrate how the filter works. The boy complies, using the pipe filter as a straw to drink from the container of water in Mbillah's hand. Learn More

Laughter Is the Best Medicine: Group's Humor Aids in Guinea Worm Education

Two actors take the stage and make wild cartoonish gestures and snappy remarks. This is not the latest sitcom in Hollywood or a new Broadway production but a drama about Guinea worm disease in rural Ghana. Learn More

Removing the Scar of Guinea Worm Disease: One Village at a Time

The muddy pond is as brown as the hillsides surrounding it. It is the peak of dry season in Ghana and Chief Tahanaa looks over the water he has been drinking since he was a child. Learn More

Dr. Emmanuel Miri: 'Dr. Water' Pours New Life into Rural Nigerian Communities with Carter Center Health Programs

His name means "water" and "life" in the Southeastern region of his native Nigeria, and perhaps no name could be more appropriate for Dr. Emmanuel Miri, resident technical adviser for the Carter Center's health programs in Nigeria. Learn More

Innovative Approach to Disease Control Multiplies Results

Imagine a nation almost half the size of the United States where large portions of the population are sick -- not with just one disease but several at once. Such is the daily reality for those living in Nigeria, a nation with one of the highest burdens of disease in Africa. Learn More

Countrymen United in Fight Against Guinea Worm Disease in Sudan

Dr. Nabil Azziz and Dr. Achol Marial live in and love the same country. Both are medical doctors with families and both head health organizations. But their country - Sudan - has been torn by a devastating civil war for the past 20 years. Medically, they are united in the fight against Guinea worm disease. The doctors met at The Carter Center in September 2003. Learn More

Stories From the Field: 6-Year Old Lukma

In a makeshift Guinea worm care center in Savelugu-Nanton, Ghana, 6-year-old Lukma receives treatment for a worm emerging from a blister on the top of his left foot. Abukari Abukari, a local health worker, questions Lukma's mother about her water-filtering practices, reminding her that she must filter all of the family's drinking water to prevent the disease from occurring. Learn More

Guinea Worm Warrior: Abdelgadir El Sid

Some have called him the "Great One." Living for a week on one small sack of supplies, getting food from people along the way, Abdelgadir El Sid is a legend among field workers fighting disease in Africa. In the 1970s, he earned his reputation by uncovering the last case of smallpox in a remote village in Somalia. Having been told that no one there had the disease, he suspected villagers might be reluctant to admit the presence of "a pox upon them" out of shame. So he created a commotion, purposely driving his jeep into a ditch, which attracted everyone in the village to witness the scene, including the last remaining victim of smallpox in the world. Learn More

Women Red Cross Volunteers Tackle Guinea Worm in Ghana

Ridding a country of its last few thousand cases of Guinea worm disease presents a special challenge. Those cases exist mostly in remote areas, where there are few wells and people draw their drinking water from ponds sometimes rife with Guinea worm larvae. Learn More

Profile: Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben, Technical Director, Carter Center Guinea Worm Eradication Program

Many Americans have never heard of dracunculiasis or more commonly, Guinea worm disease, a painful condition that is contracted when a person consumes water contaminated with water fleas carrying infective larvae. Dr. Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben, however, has had Guinea worm on his mind for the past 20 years. Learn More

Village Volunteers at Heart of Guinea Worm Disease Eradication

The Carter Center staff coordinating the Guinea Worm Eradication Program in each country cannot be everywhere all the time. Yet, as long as this crippling disease is active anywhere in a region, eradicating it requires a nearly continuous presence in the endemic areas--mostly to prevent disease transmission. Learn More

Guinea Worm 'Warrior' Fights Disease in Southern Sudan

Ermino Emilio cannot stop the war that has plagued his country for decades, but he can help people in his region of southern Sudan by protecting them from the further torment of Guinea worm disease. Ermino is the Carter Center's regional coordinator for fighting that disease in Sudan's Bahr el Ghazal Zone, a zone fragmented by the two main warring parties in Sudan. Learn More

Guinea Worm Eradication in Togo: A Firsthand Account

The Carter Center leads the global campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease in the countries that remain endemic. Among the most endemic is Togo, where Carter Center Public Relations Coordinator Emily Howard witnessed the debilitating impact that the preventable disease has caused. She observed the crusade of health workers in the field to build hope for millions. Following is her three-part account. Learn More

Global Partners Plot Final Assault on Guinea Worm Disease

Guinea worm, beware. This was the message at the Seventh African Regional Conference on Guinea Worm Eradication held this spring in Bamako, Mali. More than 200 warriors in the battle against the dreaded disease gathered to plot their strategy for the final push toward eradication. Learn More