Voice of the unheard & home to the homeless
Front Page  
 Latest News
 Articles and Analysies
 Press Releases
 Photo Gallery
 About Sudan
  Sudanese Music
  Sudanese Links
  Discussion Board
  2006 News Archives
  2006 Articles Archives
  2006 Press R.Archives
  2005 News Archives
  2005 Articles Archives
  2005 Press R.Archives
  PC&Internet Forum
  Poll System
  Tell A Friend
  Upload Your Picture
  Contact Us


Latest News Last Updated: Feb 17, 2010 - 6:59:56 AM

Stamping out the Guinea worm 'dragons' of Sudan

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
Stamping out the Guinea worm 'dragons' of Sudan

LOJURA, Sudan Scars on Severion Wayet's arms reveal where the flesh-burrowing Guinea worms burst through her skin.

It was an agonising process that lasted days as the worms, measuring around one metre (three feet) in length, fought their way out of her body.

"They were very painful, you cannot rest or sleep," the young mother said, her baby resting on her back in a goatskin carrying pouch.

Her village of Lojura, a remote settlement in the hot, dusty bush of south Sudan?s Central Equatoria state, already has enough to deal with following a brutal civil war that ended just five years ago.

But it is also one of the world's worst areas for Guinea worm.

Also known as dracunculiasis, from the Latin for "little dragons", the worm is a particularly painful water-borne parasite that can leave people weakened and sick for months every year.

Caught by drinking contaminated water, the worm larvae grow into wriggling creatures up to a metre in length, and mate inside the human body.

After about a year, the white worms dig through the body towards the skin, releasing chemicals to burn the flesh and then spewing thousands of larvae as they exit.

"Many people have suffered from the worms, but we want them to end," said Wayet. "I do not want my children to suffer like that."

Now a final drive is being made to eradicate the worms for good.

The Carter Centre -- the not-for-profit organisation founded by former US president Jimmy Carter -- has been working in Sudan since 1989 to exterminate the worm once and for all.

He said that when they started their project in southern Sudan they found more than 100,000 cases of infection.

"Last year we had about 2,500 cases, and we believe that in the next two or three years we will have zero cases of Guinea worm in Sudan," he said during a mid-February visit to Lojura where he met worm-infected villagers.

Infections worldwide have been slashed by 99 percent from some 3.9 million people in 1986 to 3,500 in 2009, according to the World Health Organisation.

Now the worms are found only in small and isolated pockets of Ghana, Mali and Ethiopia, with its final main stronghold in grossly underdeveloped south Sudan.

South Sudan was cut off from health workers for years by the 22-year civil war between southern rebels and the Arab-dominated Khartoum government, during which some two million people died.

Peace was signed in 2005 but tensions remain high. Nationwide elections are set for April and an independence referendum for next year.

Medical experts believe that it would be possible to eradicate Guinea worm within a few years.

"When we succeed," Carter said, "this will be the second disease in history ever eradicated from the face of the earth -- the only other one was smallpox now almost 20 years ago."

Although there is no direct treatment, the breeding cycle can be broken by making sure people do not wash in sources of drinking water while the worm is emerging from the skin.

Moreover, thousands of volunteer health workers have been trained to ensure people use a simple water filter for drinking potentially unsafe water.

Many in the community here wear a water filter tube around their neck, and Carter predicted that Guinea worm would be the first disease to be wiped out without the use of a vaccine or medicine.

Worms mainly exit from the legs and arms but affected communities say they have been known to emerge from the head, sexual organs and even the eyes.

Eradicating it would have a major impact.

Extracting an entire worm requires winding it around a small stick -- like twisting spaghetti on a fork, but victims can be incapacitated for months.

The traditional universal medical symbol, of a snake wrapped around a pole, is thought by many to have its roots in the treatment of Guinea worm.

The peak period for the worms to emerge coincides with the crucial farming months, which may explain why, in Mali, Guinea worm is called "the disease of the empty granary," according to the WHO.

South Sudan's health minister, Joseph Manytuil Wejang, warned that without its eradication, thousands of people would be incapacitated every year in the poorest communities.

"The potential to improve the social and economic conditions is limitless," Wejang added.

If the worms are tangled around muscles -- something that can often happen -- twisting the parasites out is especially painful, and can make the process even longer

© Copyright by SudaneseOnline.com

Please feel free to send us your Articles , Analysies news and press releases to [email protected]

Top of Page

This report does not necessarily reflect the views of Sudanese Online.com

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Latest News
  • Taha Leads Sudan Delegation Participating in France-African Summit
  • Sudan Envoy to UN says movements of the so-called ICC exposed attempts to disturb current historic developments in Sudan
  • Taha to Lead Sudan Delegation for African - French Summit in Nice City
  • President Al-Bashir Receives Message from President Kibaki
  • SPLM Wary of President Bashirs Referendum Pledge
  • Dr. Sabir Al-Hassan Leads Sudan Delegation to ADB Meetings in Cote d'Ivoire
  • Southern Sudan HIV/AIDS infections on the rise
  • Journalists held for boycotting Sudan inauguration
  • Dr. Ismail meets Obasanjo, Discuss Sudanese-Nigerian Relations
  • President of Malawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia expected to arrive in Khartoum Thursday morning
  • Sudan's Bashir Sworn In to Another 5-Year Term
  • President Mohamed Ould Abdel Azizof Mauritania arrives in Khartoum
  • Kenyan Vice President Musyoka Arrives in Khartoum to Take Part in inaguartion of President Al-Bashir
  • Kingsport helps Sudanese town design land use plan
  • Dialogue, co-op vital to end Nile row
  • Intn'l court reports Sudan to UN
  • Qatari Prime Minister and Dr. Salahuddin Review Developments in Peace Process in Darfur
  • President Al-Bashir Congratulates Premier Zenawi on Winning of his Party in the Ethiopian Elections
  • Minister of Interior Meets Wali of North Kordofan State
  • Sudan slams Human Rights Watch
  • Sudan charges opposition journalist with terrorism
  • Dr. Ismail: UN, AU, Arab League and OIC will Participate in Al-Bashir's Inauguration
  • Dr. Nafie: New Government will be One of United Programme and Vision
  • SDU (UK & I) Ireland Chapter meeting
  • Washington DC Marchers Protest Darfur Genocide
  • Egypt's Citadel starts power project for Sudan cement plant
  • Rwanda: Dialogue Will Resolve the Nile Water Dispute
  • Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir Nominated as Speaker of National Assembly
  • Al-Zahawi Ibrahim Malik: Unity shall be the Best Choice for Southern Citizens
  • Dr. Al-Jaz Launches Electricity Project for Northern Rural Area of Khartoum North
  • Dr. Nafie: Sudanese Workers' Trade Union Federation Plays the Greatest Role in Facing Tyranny
  • Sudanese authorities shut newspaper in crackdown
  • Salva Kiir receives message from Secretary General of the Arab League
  • UN Names Countries, Groups Using Child Soldiers
  • Salva Kiir Inaugurated As President of South Sudan
  • Kiir Pledges to Work for Making Unity the Attractive Option
  • Salva Kiir Sworn in as President of the Government of South Sudan
  • Second Sudanese opposition leader arrested: family
  • Darfur rebels say 200 killed in clashes with army
  • Egyptian Irrigation Minister Declares Joint Sudanese - Egyptian Vision that Includes their Rights on Use of Nile Water
  • Arab - Chinese Cooperation Forum Lauds Sudan Elections
  • Sudan and Egypt Agree to Continue Efforts to Unite Nile Basin Countries
  • Darfur rebel leader's 19-hour standoff ends
  • SUDAN: Key post-referendum issues
  • Debts of Sudan Amount to 37.7 Billion US dollars, IMF Agree to Negotiate with Sudan
  • Slva Kiir Receives Written Message from Eritrean President
  • Dr. Fedail Conveys Message from President Al-Bashir to Ethiopian Prime Minister
  • American woman among 3 aid workers kidnapped in Darfur
  • Darfur Jem leader Khalil Ibrahim stopped in Chad
  • Analysis: Ten years of talks - and still no resolution to Nile controversy
  • Chad Rejects Entry of Khalil Ibrahim to its Territories, Declared him Persona non-Grata Deby to Visit Sudan next Week
  • Dean of Bar Association: Israel Aims to spliting South Sudan
  • Taha Affirms State Commitment to Expand Security and Stability all over the Country
  • SUDAN: Bol Manyiel, "I can still buy more guns with my remaining cattle"
  • Salva Kiir, USAID Official Discuss Food Security Situation
  • U.S. Starts $55 Million Agriculture Program in Southern Sudan
  • Sudan: Govt Arrests Top Bashir Critic
  • Secretary General of the Assembly calls on the Elected Deputies to Attend Procedural Sitting
  • SUDAN: Disarmament doubts in Lakes State
  • Egypt police kill Sudanese migrant near Israel border
  • Sudanese army seizes Jebel Moun JEM base
  • Sudan Arrests Islamist Opposition Leader Turabi
  • Agricultural Bank finalizes preparations to inaugurate 12 branches in Gezira State to focus on micro finance
  • In Phone Call with Al-Qaddafi: President Al-Bashir Affirms Progress of Sudanese - Chadian Relations
  • Fishing festival promotes Sudans fish resources