Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Eradication of Guinea Worm Disease


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Guinea Worm Disease

Mains level: NA

Guinea Worm Disease

Why in the News?

The imminent eradication of Guinea worm disease marks a major win for public health, showcasing the effectiveness of simple strategies in fighting diseases.

About Guinea Worm Disease

  • Causes: Guinea worm disease, known since ancient times as the “fiery serpent,” is caused by the Guinea worm (Dracunculus medinensis), bringing painful blisters and severe symptoms to those affected.
  • How It Spreads: People develop painful blisters, and when they come into contact with water, adult worms emerge, contaminating water sources and continuing the cycle of infection.

Symptoms and Impact

  • Pain and Suffering: The disease causes intense pain, swelling, and ulcers, making it hard for people to go about their daily lives.
  • Effects: Mostly affecting the legs and feet, Guinea worm disease worsens poverty and illness in areas where clean water and healthcare are scarce.

Success Story in India

  • Beating the Disease: India successfully got rid of Guinea worm disease in the late 1990s by focusing on simple things like clean water and educating communities about health.
  • Team Effort: India’s government, local health workers, and international partners worked together to achieve this victory.

Global Progress and Challenges

  • Making Strides: Progress has been made globally, but challenges remain in places like Chad and the Central African Republic, where the disease is still a problem.
  • New Hurdles: Finding Guinea worms in animals like dogs shows that the disease is tough and needs continued attention.

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