The Ministry of Health, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners has launched the Cash Reward programme for reporting of Guinea Worm Disease in Tonj State on 3 August 2017. As one of the neglected tropical diseases, Guinea Worm disease which had been known for centuries will be the first parasitological disease to be eradicated in the world.
“Since the establishment of the South Sudan Guinea Worm Elimination Programme (SSGWEP) in 2006, efforts by WHO and partners have drastically reduced the number of Guinea worm cases from 20,581 in 2006 to just 6 in 2016. For the first time, South Sudan has not reported a single case of guinea worm disease between Jan and August 2017”, said Dr Riek Gai Kok, the Honorable Minister of Health.
The launch of cash reward programme for reporting Guinea worm cases is part of the efforts to permanently eliminate the parasitic disease in the country, Dr Kok added. He also reminded the community to be vigilant and encouraged the populace to report Guinea worm rumours and suspects.
The cash reward scheme was introduced in 2014 with a cash reward of SSP 500 but this has been increased to the current amount of up to SSP 10,000 to make it more attractive and encourage more persons getting involved in the eradication programme, which aims to ensure that there will be no cases of the disease by 2020.
During the launch, the communities were sensitized on basic facts about Guinea worm disease and its mode of prevention. The campaign to create awareness has been intensified in schools, churches as well as the local FM radio stations and National Television. Since 2008, WHO and partners with financial support from The Carter Center as well as Bill and Melinda Gates continued to strengthen Guinea worm disease surveillance to hasten the eradication of Guinea worm disease in South Sudan.
Guinea Worm Disease is a parasitic infection caused by a nematode worm Dracunculus medinensis. It is caused by drinking water containing water fleas (Cyclops species) that have ingested Dracunculus larvae. The worm is the longest and largest of the tissue parasite affecting humans.