|Description:||This image depicts the painful suffering of a young girl named Akouma, living in the village of Agbande in the Dofelgou District of Northern Togo. A Guinea worm field nurse named Golda is extracting an adult Guinea worm, Dracunculus medinensis, from the girl’s lower right leg. The Guinea worm has migrated, over a period of approximately one year, to its site of emergence to release its eggs in a local pond or stream. Before the worm emerges, a blister develops on the skin. This blister causes a very painful burning sensation and eventually (within 24 - 72hrs) ruptures. Once the white, spaghetti-like worm emerges from the wound, it is pulled out only a few centimeters each day, and wrapped around a small stick or piece of gauze. Sometimes a worm can be pulled out completely within a few days, but this painful process often takes weeks.|
When the Guinea Worm Eradication Program began in 1986, there were approximately 3.5 million cases, crippling millions of people in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. Since then, Guinea worm disease has been reduced by more than 99.7 percent. In 2005, only 10,674 cases of Guinea worm disease were reported in nine countries – all in Africa. Today, coalition partners, in collaboration with thousands of dedicated community health workers, continue to intensify efforts as we fight the last fraction of 1 percent of Guinea worm disease.