Guinea worm is an infection disease caused by the roundworm parasite named Dracunculus medenisis. In 1986,the disease affected as many as 3.5 million people a year in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. Today the incidence of Guinea worm has been reduced by more than 99%. This can be attributed to the work of many, including The Carter Center, the nonprofit organization founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The Center works in more than 70 countries, and has had a hand in the near elimination of Guinea worm. Sudan carries the heaviest burden of the disease, however, great strides have been made in 2010 there were only 1,700 cases of Guinea worm worldwide. Read all about the progress of Guinea worm eradication and The Carter Center on The Spiegel Online International article released today. Also, President Carter was recently featured on CNN check out the video entitled, Jimmy Carters dream of eradication.
Posts Tagged The Carter Center
You know that you are in a room with passionate global-health do-gooders when no one bats an eye at a graphic visual of guinea worm extraction.
This morning, I attended a session given by the Carter Center, an organization that has pioneered many successful interventions for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Read more: Building Hope: The Carter Centers Mission to Eliminate NTDs
The groundbreaking documentary entitled Foul Water, Fiery Serpent will be screened next Monday, October 18, 2010 at the National Geographic Society! Check out details on next Mondays screening below, as well as our guest blogger Alanna Shaikhs post on the film as well:
Global Health Council, The Carter Center, and The National Geographic Society for the Washington D.C. premiere of
Foul Water Fiery Serpent
Monday, Oct. 18, 2010
6:30-8 pm The National Geographic Society Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium 1600 M Street, NW Washington, D.C.
The new documentary chronicles the dedication of health workers engaged in the final struggle to eradicate a horrific disease in Africa. The film features former President Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center, and is narrated by Sigourney Weaver.
For a preview of the film, please click here.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with special guests:
- Dr. Don Hopkins, VP Health Programs, The Carter Center
- Ms. Susanna Moorehead, UK Executive Director to the World Bank and Minister Counselor at the British Embassy
- David Thon, a Lost Boy of Sudan, Graduate Training Assistant, Southeast AIDS Training and Education Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Please RSVP by COB, Oct. 15 or call (415) 670-9600.
Lots of new developments in the world of NTDs and global health! Today were reading about a newly developed diagnostic test for river blindness, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awards $15.5 million to needle-free dengue vaccine, former President Jimmy Carter announces the near eradication of guinea worm and river blindness in the areas where The Carter Center works, and a group from Imperial College London was awarded with a grant from the United Kingdom government to fight against neglected tropical diseases.
Scientists develop first test to detect river blindness, Mark Johnson, Journal Sentinel NIAID awards $15.5m to needle-free dengue vaccine, Nick Taylor, in-Pharma Technologies Carter says disease mission nearly finished, Associated Press Imperial initiative to protect children from tropical disease awarded £25m government backing, Media Newswire
A lot going on in the world of global health and NTDs today! This Tuesday afternoon were reading about the Philippine Department of Healths initiative to combat malnutrition which in turn will help control and eliminate NTDs, the Carter Centers progress on eradicating guinea worm in Sudan, a new UN report that demonstrates greater access to HIV/AIDS treatment in 37 countries, and creation of a new malaria vaccine.
DOH acts to end IDA, Suzette R. Adduru, Philippine Information Agency Carter Center close to eradicating dreaded disease, The Carter Center UN report shows access to HIV services improving in many developing countries, UN News Center Good news expected at US meet on malaria vaccine, AFP
Happy Friday! A short reading list today to send you off to a relaxing weekend. Today were reading about new drugs being investigated that would treat both tuberculosis and NTDs, prevalence of urinary schistosomiasis in pre-school children in Nigeria, and the amazing effects of Mectizan on river blindness.
Potential TB Drugs Investigated Against Multiple Neglected Diseases, Medical News Today Urinary schistosomiasis in pre-school kids in Nigeria, Robert Herriman, The Examiner Miracle Medicine Mends Nigerian Tailors Eyesight, The Carter Center
Interesting articles today on our reading list! Today were reading about elephantiasis control in Tanzania, the establishment of 25 new public health laboratories in East Africa thanks to funding from the World Bank, the challenge that nomadic groups in southern Sudan pose in eliminating guinea worm within the region, and leishmaniasis among U.S. soldiers in Baghdad. Enjoy!
Impact of programme to control elephantiasis levels off, Paul Chinnock , TropIKA EAC Health Sector Gets U.S.$64 Million Boost from World Bank, David Muwanga, All Africa Nomadic Groups Pose Challenge to Eliminate Guinea Worm Southern Sudan, The Carter Center Sand flies infect U.S. forces leaving them with Baghdad Boil, Eric Athas, The Washington Post
by: Alanna Shaikh
You may recall that back when I made my debut on this blog, I renamed Guinea Worm to “Spend a month pulling a long worm out of a hole in your body disease.” Well, if you ever wanted to see exactly what’s involved in that month-long process, I have a movie for you.
“Foul Water Fiery Serpent” is a new documentary that tracks efforts to eliminate Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm) in Sudan and Ghana. I haven’t seen it yet, but I watched the trailer and the very cool animation of the guinea worm. (And yes, the trailer does show an actual worm extraction. That’s why it’s labeled “viewer discretion advised.”)
The film documents three years of eradication efforts in the two countries, and I think it’s an interesting insight into the difficult mechanics of disease eradication. As the film’s website states, they follow health workers as they “distribute filter cloths, treat water sources with safe pesticide, educate villagers about avoiding the worms, and treat victims suffering from the disease.”
It’s unusual to have a film that really looks at this kind of prevention work. It’s a lot easier to hook an audience if you focus on sick kids and glamorous cures. Taking the time to look at where a disease like Guinea Worm comes from and how you can keep infection from spreading is a lot harder but, I think, makes for a better story in the end. It’s not really a story if you only tell 20% of it, right?
I admit the film’s website is a little over the top:
“Through a relentless cycle of successes and failures, facing ignorance and superstition in a vast landscape ravaged by war, the heroes in this story are making medical history in an epic struggle to drive an ancient enemy into extinction…Following the victory against smallpox, Guinea worm is likely to be the next disease in the history of mankind to be eradicated from the Earth.”
They have a point, but I suspect they could have made it with fewer adjectives. Though I guess you have to respect anyone who can get that excited about a tropical disease. I seem to be seeing all sides of this discussion.
Whatever you think about the language of the website, it is a compelling movie on a topic that can be very dry. If you work in global health, and you’ve ever wanted to show your friends what you do for a living, this movie might be your key to seeming extremely cool. (Then you have to admit that you plan and administer efforts like these and don’t ever actually talk to Sudanese villagers, but that’s a topic for another day.)
Aside from making public health professionals look cool, the movie rightfully highlights the incredible efforts that have been made to eradicate Guinea Worm. We’re not going to eliminate tropical disease with a lot of this kind of spade work, and this film shows us exactly what that work will look like.
(Possibly my favorite thing about the movie, by the way, is this accompanying interview with Makoy Samuel Yibi)
Alanna Shaikh is an expert in health consulting, writing about global health for UN Dispatch and about international relief and development at Blood & Milk. She also serves as a frequently contributing blogger to ‘End the Neglect.”
- The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is a major advocacy and resource mobilization initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute dedicated to raising the awareness, political will, and funding necessary to control and eliminate the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)--a group of disabling, disfiguring, and deadly diseases affecting more than 1.4 billion people worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day.
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