According to the Carter Center “Guinea worm disease is set to become the second disease in human history, after smallpox, to be eradicated. It will be the first parasitic disease to be eradicated and the first disease to be eradicated without the use of a vaccine or medical treatment.”
Guinea Worm Disease is a debilitating infection that has plagued people of Asian, African and Middle Eastern nations since the early 1900’s. Its widespread reach is largely in part to contaminated drinking water and lack of education in rural communities. Often the disease is so painful that afflicted individuals are unable to work or provide for their families for extended periods of time.
Today we celebrate that thanks to a concentrated effort by partners worldwide and also the countries themselves, the disease has been reduced by over 99 percent! This drastic reduction has been made possible through interception of the disease by educational programs teaching communities about clean water and simple prevention methods such as how sieve water through cloth before drinking. Speakers during the event will address these methods as well as the worldwide public health implications of the eradication of this disease.
Today’s event will also recognize that although the world has taken great strides toward eradication this disease still continues to affect individuals in 6 African countries. Which is why political and organizational support for eradication programs and the individuals who execute them is important now more than ever. Without their enormous dedication and attention to detail gaining both the understanding and cooperation of the remaining affected communities will not be possible.