Volume 73, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


This report summarizes the status of the Dracunculiasis Eradication Program as of early 2005. Nine of the 20 countries that were endemic for this disease when the program began have already interrupted transmission, Asia is free of Guinea worm, and five of the remaining disease-endemic countries reported less than 50 cases each in 2004. Ghana and Sudan each reported 45% of the 16,026 cases in 2004. Except for Sudan, whose reports are delayed, cases in the remaining disease-endemic countries were reduced by 61% during the first quarter of 2005 compared with the same period of 2004. With accelerating momentum towards zero cases in all countries, the recent settlement of Sudan’s north-south civil war, and a new challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the way now seems clear to finish eradicating dracunculiasis by 2009 in Sudan and earlier elsewhere.

“The rule of the final inch . . . The work has been almost completed, the goal almost attained . . . In that moment of fatigue and self-satisfaction it is especially tempting to leave the work without having attained the apex of quality . . . In fact, the rule of the Final Inch consists in this: not to shirk this crucial work. Not to postpone it . . . And not to mind the time spent on it, knowing that one’s purpose lies . . . in the attainment of perfection.”

—Alexander Solzhenitzyn,


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  • Received : 05 May 2005
  • Accepted : 13 May 2005
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