UK gives £20m to global war on guinea worm

The fight to eradicate the gruesome and debilitating "guinea worm" disease, making it only the second in the world to be wiped out after smallpox, is on the verge of success after it secured £20m funding from the Government.

Guinea worm afflicted 3.5 million people across 21 countries in 1986, but thanks to a campaign launched that year by former US President, Jimmy Carter, it is now confined to South Sudan, Ethiopia and Mali, afflicting only 1,797 people last year.

The disease is contracted by drinking water contaminated with microscopic worm larvae, which grow up to a metre long and emerge about a year later from the afflicted person's body through a blister in the skin.

Britain has now become the first state donor to fund the campaign, which could exacerbate the wrath of many on the right of the Conservative Party, who have privately expressed concern that the Government is spending too much on foreign aid. There is no known cure or vaccine but aid efforts have focused on providing drinking water filters and educating vulnerable populations about the dangers of drinking contaminated water.

The disease is usually non-fatal but causes extreme pain and leaves sufferers bedridden for weeks or months. If the eradication drive is successful, it will follow smallpox into history and the species that causes it will be declared extinct.

Jimmy Carter paid tribute to the UK's "willingness and staying power" in supporting his campaign, which hopes to achieve its goal by 2015, and called on other donors to "match the UK's efforts". The funding pledge from the Department for International Development (DFID) is dependent on other donors providing the additional £40m needed to achieve the Carter Foundation's goals.

Dr John Hardman, president of the Carter Foundation, praised the DFID for leading the developed world on international aid.

"We have had a strong partnership with DFID for years and to hear about this additional grant was music to our ears," he said. "DFID exemplify how we can form partnerships to attack challenging problems and diseases in the developing world."

The disease by numbers

99.95% The fall in sufferers from guinea worm disease over the past 25 years.



£60m The total amount of money the Carter Centre believes is needed to eradicate the disease forever.



£950m The amount of the DFID's annual £8.1bn budget spent on health projects.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Administrator

    £10000 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Developer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital agency is looking ...

    Guru Careers: Financial Director / FD / Senior Finance Manager

    Up to 70k DOE: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Financial Director ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company has been manufacturing high quali...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen