Ministry intensifies Guinea Worm public awareness


NAIROBI, Kenya, 31 March 2017 – The Ministry of Health is using the polio campaign platform to create awareness and sensitize the public on the Guinea Worm disease in preparation of this year’s certification as Guinea-Worm free.

Anyone who detects and reports a Guinea Worm case shall be awarded KSh100,000. The polio campaign which started on April 1, 2017 runs for five days.

“During the polio campaign, vaccinating teams will be sensitizing members of the visited households about Guinea Worm. The Ministry will also improve documentation of surveillance information on the worm in all health facilities,” said Dr. David Soti, Head of the Department of Preventive and Promotive Health Services.

The last indigenous Guinea Worm case was reported in Kenya in 1994. In 2005, an imported case was reported from a neighbouring country. The certification will be a huge milestone for Kenya, if the country meets the conditions for acquiring the coveted status.

Kenya is expected to have increased the public’s awareness on Guinea Worm and ensured that health facilities are well equipped to handle any such case. The level of public awareness must be at least 50 percent at the national level and 70 percent in the three Counties where the disease was formerly endemic. These Counties are Trans Nzoia, Turkana and West Pokot. The public must also be made aware of the cash offer for any Guinea Worm case.

The Guinea Worm is a long, thin, white worm that emerges from the skin and is transmitted through drinking contaminated water. One is supposed to immediately report any suspected cases to a health worker through 0732 353 353 or 0729 471 414. This will ensure that health workers investigate and document the suspected case within 24 hours. If it is found to be Guinea Worm, the worm will be removed in order to prevent further spread. A National Guinea Worm Eradication Committee has been established.

We have cases where people have reported Cutaneous Larvae Migrans and Sparganosis as Guinea Worm because they almost look alike.  The Ministry team is on call to verify each and every suspected case that is reported.