The Carter Centre on Thursday 17th February 2011 in Atlanta, honoured Nigeria as
the latest country to be completely rid of Guinea worm infection. At the
colourful ceremony which took place at the Carter centre, Nigeria’s Minister of
Health Professor Onyebuchi CHUKWU received the award on behalf of Nigeria.
2. In his remarks at the occasion, former American President Jimmy CARTER
acknowledged the challenges of Guinea worm in the world’s poorest and remotest
communities, and that, at the beginning of the campaign against the disease,
Nigeria had the highest number of cases in the world with over six hundred and
fifty thousand cases. He thanked the Federal government for partnering with the
Carter Centre, the result of which he noted, was the successful total
eradication of the disease in Nigeria. He also acknowledged the contributions of
volunteers, non-governmental organizations and global partners like UNICEF, UNDP
and WHO. He thanked General GOWON and the Yakubu Gowon Centre for the
partnership in the campaign, and he attributed the success of bringing the
menace to a total halt in Nigeria to the endemic communities who understood
their work and cooperated with them.
3. He expressed happiness and gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to
the eradication of Guinea worm which he noted, was on its way to becoming the
second disease, next to small pox ever to be eradicated globally.
4. In acknowledging the award, the Minister of Health thanked President
CARTER and the Carter Centre for the work which had led to the situation in
Nigeria with regards to guinea worm that was been celebrated. He expressed the
appreciation on behalf of President JONATHAN and the entire people of Nigeria,
and he noted that the success with guinea worm would inspire efforts towards
ending the menace of other diseases like polio, river blindness, measles etc.
The Minister also thanked General Gowon for his inspiration and commitment to
the campaign which led to its success. In apparent reference to General Gowon’s statement after the Nigerian civil war, the Minister said that
with Guinea worm in Nigeria, “It is not a ‘No Victor No Vanquished’ situation”,
but that “there was a victor and Vanquished” and that Guinea worm was obviously
5. In General GOWON’s remarks, he thanked President CARTER for “challenging”
him and “recruiting “ him to “do battle” against guinea worm. He noted that,
until he got involved with the campaign and touring many of the endemic
communities and working with the team, he did not know the depth of the ravaging
the disease was causing.
6. He informed that the efforts against guinea worm, also helped to tackle
other water-borne diseases like water blindness, cholera etc. He expressed the
hopes that Nigeria would, within the next year, receive certification from the
WHO as totally free of Guinea worm. He called for continuous monitoring and
advocacy in order to keep the sanitation practices at the levels that will keep
the disease from coming back.
7. Ghana, Sudan and Mali are the remaining countries with cases of guinea
worm in the world. Ethiopia had exited the list but had some cases reported
again in 2010 thereby adding her to the list of endemic countries.
CONSULATE GENERAL OF NIGERIA
22nd February 2011
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