Nigeria scales first step of guinea worm-free certification

The International Certification Team for Guinea Worm Eradication said on Friday that it would recommend Nigeria for guinea worm-free certification.
Prof. David Molyneux, leader of the team, said this in Abuja when he briefed the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on the team’s findings.
Molyneux said the global certification would be in December.
He said: “We’ll recommend to the International Commission for Disease Eradication that the risk of importation is minimal.
“The knowledge of the world system and associated reporting room provides further evidence that there have been an absence of confirmed cases since 2008.
“Based on those comments, the national report, which states that Nigeria is free of the transmission, the confirmation by this statement is valid given the sample size of the visit.
“The ICT will recommend to the international commission that Nigeria will be declared free of guinea worm.
“Despite this recommendation that Nigeria is free of guinea worm transmission, it must be viewed in the global context of global eradication.
“And that means that conditions for stopping or reducing the amount of effort in guinea worm should be maintained.
“We must continue the surveillance.”
Molyneux drew the attention of the Federal Government to the risk of migration, especially from countries like Chad and Niger, which were still endemic.
He said the team visited 17 states and the FCT, 16 local government areas, 136 villages and interviewed 16,030 people.
He advised that there should be continued health sensitisation, cross-border coordination and awareness.
He also called on the Federal Government to improve on rural water supply as it was important to health, advising that in areas where there was no clean water, people should endeavour to boil water before drinking.
Responding, the health minister said all the recommendations were noted and assured that government would adhere to them as it looked forward to the official declaration in December.
Chukwu appreciated the work of the team in the certification process and the contributions of all international partners in the eradication of guinea worm in Nigeria.
He expressed confidence that other diseases like polio would one day be eradicated in the country, adding that Nigeria would maintain the template of guinea worm eradication.
The Jimmy Carter Foundation and Yakubu Gowon Foundation pledged their continued support to Nigeria in the fight against guinea worm and other diseases.