25 Jun 2015

Another species on the verge of extinction

Eradicating Guinea worm disease


It may seem strange to celebrate the near extinction of a species. But we are committed to supporting the global effort to end Guinea worm disease forever. There have been just five reported cases of Guinea worm disease so far this year – four in Chad and one in Ethiopia. This compares to an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986.

Only five cases of Guinea worm disease have been seen so far in 2015 (as of May 2015)

Behind every statistic there is a story. For Guinea worm disease, these five brave people are enduring horrific and debilitating pain. One is a three year old boy. Another, an eight year old girl. There are two other boys aged nine and 13. And a young man aged 25. They are at the final frontier of this battle with a species on the verge of extinction.

There is no cure, vaccine or surgical procedure to treat the parasite. The only way to halt the disease is by preventing people becoming infected in the first place. Thanks to the extraordinary leadership and persistence of The Carter Center, with support from the World Health Organisation, the Guinea worm is on the brink of extinction.

All but four countries have eliminated Guinea worm diseasetweet

Today, we are committing $20 million of funding over six years to the Carter Center to help finish the job of eradicating Guinea worm disease. It’s crucial that the successful systems in place to end the disease are funded to ensure that these four children and young adult really are among the last to suffer. CIFF has previously funded the programme with a $6.7 million grant between 2011 and 2015.

The announcement was made by CIFF’s CEO Michael Anderson at an event in London to highlight the huge health and economic benefits of combating neglected tropical diseases. The new commitment is part of our vision of a world where every child is free from worms forever.

“It’s simply not acceptable that 800 million children worldwide are at risk from horrific intestinal worms, despite the existence of a cheap and simple solution. Today’s announcement builds on our ongoing commitments to support national deworming programmes in Africa and India.” – Michael Anderson.

Other CIFF grants include a $16.8 million commitment to support the government of India to implement an evidence-based, nationally-mandated deworming programme that reaches at least 75% of Indian children by 2020.

India dewormed 89 million kids in one day

In Kenya, we have been supporting the government with a $12.8 million grant to deworm millions of children through a school-based drug distribution programme.

Kenya National School-Based Deworming Programme