NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya
and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday launched an evaluation
process aimed at eradicating Guinea worm disease in the country.
of U.S. department of Health and Human services, who is leading the process,
said his team will assess the adequacy of the surveillance system and review
records of investigations regarding reported cases of the disease and subsequent
“We intend to
visit refugee camps, border areas and northwestern Kenya that had the last
reported case,” Breman told journalists during launch of the exercise in
disease is a parasitic disease that is transmitted through drinking stagnant
water that has been contaminated with a tiny parasite-infected flea.
the body, the larvae can mature into worms that grow up to one meter in length
and people may develop a fever, swelling and pain in the area where the adult
worm is ready to come out.
Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu revealed that Kenya’s first case was reported
in 1994 and exotic case in 2005.
He said that
Kenya’s certification is long overdue and that the government will accord the
team all the necessary support to complete their work successfully.
cases were reported in northwestern part of the country while the rest of the
country has no experience of the disease,” Mailu added.
that Kenya started guinea worm eradication program in 1989 and has since
continued creating awareness and surveillance to detect and contain any imported
Representative Rudi Eggers said that it will be a significant and historical
public health achievement in Kenya and the world if the country is declared free
from the disease.
will be the second human disease ever to have been declared eradicated in Kenya
after smallpox and the first human parasitic disease wiped off in the country,”
cautioned that due to the fact that some of Kenya’s neighbors are still endemic,
the country should continue with its effort even after certification until the
whole world is declared free from the diseases.
million persons infected with Guinea worm every year in the world in mid 1980s,
the number has since reduced to 25 in 2016 and 24 people in 2017. Chad and
Ethiopia reported 14 and 10 infections this year.
WHO, 186 out of 194 WHO member countries are already certified guinea worm free
and only eight countries in the world including Kenya remain to be certified.
certified in January 2015 becoming the latest country to be certified while
South Sudan, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are on the
declared free of guinea worm, a country needs to have reported zero instances of
transmission and maintained active surveillance for at least three years