The Ministry of Public Health of Chad has launched a national “Heroes of Guinea-worm campaign” to accelerate the prompt detection and containment of all human cases and animals infected with Dracunculiasis medinensis(the Guinea worm).
“The campaign focuses on creating awareness about the disease and sensitizing people living in districts and regions about ways to prevent the infection,” said Dr Tchindebet Ouakou, national coordinator of the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme in Chad. “Anyone who provides information about a confirmed case is awarded US$ 45.00 (CFA 25 000); the infected person also receives US$ 45.00 (CFA 25 000). The patient receives a total of US$ 90.00 (CFA 50 000) if he or she is also the informant.”
A reward is also in place for voluntarily reporting and tethering an infected dog.1 The national programme’s enhanced communication campaign, launched on 22 July 2017 as a joint effort of the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Information, is supported by The Carter Center.
From 1 January to 31 July 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) has received reports of nine human cases of dracunculiasis, all of them in Chad.
“The recent move by Chad to accelerate case detection and containment of transmission is an excellent initiative,” said Dr Dieudonné Sankara, who heads the WHO dracunculiasis eradication unit. “We need to interrupt transmission decisively through systematic and sustained use of vector control interventions.”
Infection in animals
Besides human cases, Chad has also reported infections in dogs and cats. Two countries – Ethiopia and Mali have not reported human cases but have registered D. medinensis infections in animals. South Sudan is the only country that has not reported any human or animal cases since September 2015.
- 639 infected dogs
- 7 infected cats
- 9 infected dogs
- 4 infected baboons
- 3 infected dogs
The unusual epidemiology of D. medinensis infection in animals (mainly dogs) was detected in Chad in 2012. Along with other measures to prevent infections in dogs and people as well as contamination of water bodies, vector control remains a vital element in interrupting transmission of D. medinensis, particularly in Chad, Ethiopia and Mali. National programmes, with support from The Carter Center, are responding by treating water bodies and ponds with temephos.