Nigeria will be certified by the World Health Organisation, WHO, in June 2013 as a guinea worm free nation. Nigeria has maintained a zero-case status for 52 months, as there has been no case of guinea worm reported to date in any part of the country. The last verifiable guinea worm case reported in Nigeria was in November 2008, putting it on target to meet international certification for eradication.
Already, an International Certification Team from the WHO is expected to visit Nigeria as from June for an assessment of the country’s certification drive and to confirm whether the country retains a strong surveillance system to ensure any possible case is caught and reported early.
Assistant National Coordinator of the National Steering Committee of the Nigeria Guinea worm Eradication Programme, NIGEP, Mr. Babatunde Tokoya, said “Before Nigeria can be certified guinea worm free, we must meet four distinct criteria. We must have at least 85 percent timely monthly reporting from all health facilities, public and private primary, secondary and tertiary health facilities in the 774 LGAs across the country. Currently we have attained 57 percent. Further, he said there must be at least 80 percent monthly reporting from all 774 LGAs in the states. “Currently we are at 83 percent completeness but 51 percent reported timely.
Guinea worm is infection with Dracunculus medinensis, a nematode worm. It is caused by drinking water containing water fleas habouring Dracunculus larvae. There are no drugs for treatment but it can be prevented by protecting water sources and filtering potentially contaminated water.
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