South Sudan is on the verge of eradicating guinea worm since no transmission was reported in the country in 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, a senior official said on Friday.
Makur Kariom, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health, said South Sudan would soon achieve the goal of total guinea worm eradication thanks to targeted interventions like improved hygiene and public awareness.
“We have been going on for more than 17 months now without cases of Guinea worm reported in the country.
So, guinea worm is not in the country as we talk,” said Kariom.
He said South Sudan’s health ministry had been working closely with multilateral partners to fast-track the process of being certified guinea worm free.
The official revealed that the ministry has instituted a cash reward scheme to encourage the public to report any guinea worm case.
Guinea worm disease is contracted when people drink contaminated water that hosts the larvae, which then grows inside the body of the victim.
The adult female guinea worm later erupts through the victim’s skin, causing painful blisters.
South Sudan’s health ministry began a campaign to eradicate guinea worm disease 13 years ago before the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, with assistance from foreign donors.
Guinea worm disease is believed to be nearing total eradication in many parts of Africa where it was endemic.
Chad and Ethiopia were the only countries in the Sub-Saharan African region that reported Guinea worm cases in 2017. (Xinhua)