Dracunculiasis Eradication: Target 1995

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  • Global 2000, Inc., Carter Center, World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Research, Training, and Control of Dracunculiasis, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, Georgia

Substantial progress has been achieved over the past 3 years by the campaign to eradicate dracunculiasis. The target of eradication by 1995 has been set by the African Regional Office of the World Health Organization and accepted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Program. India and Pakistan continue to reduce their cases of the disease dramatically. In Africa, Ghana and Nigeria conducted national village-by-village searches in 1988–1990 and, between them, found > 800,000 cases of the disease. Most African countries have now prepared national plans of action, appointed national coordinators, and intend to use UNICEF's assistance to conduct national searches by the end of 1990. An international donors' conference held in 1989 facilitated major new assistance for the initiative by UNICEF, the United Nations Development Program, the United States Agency for International Development, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, the Peace Corps, the American Cyanamid Company, and DuPont. The World Health Organization held a meeting early in 1990 to draft criteria and recommend the process for certifying achievement of elimination of dracunculiasis in formerly endemic countries. The major remaining obstacles to eradication of dracunculiasis by 1995 are civil wars in northeastern Africa and the apathy of some national and international officials.