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Specialists team up against the Guinea worm

Beninese and Togolese specialists have produced a six-point plan to reduce the already diminishing incidence of the Guinea worm disease in communities along their common border, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. Guinea worm experts from the two countries decided at a two-day meeting last week in Savalou, Benin, that village volunteers, community coordinators and health workers needed to be retrained on proper reporting of the disease. The Guinea worm parasite - dracunculus medinensis - lives beneath the skin of humans and other vertebrates. It remains a health hazard for the communities concerned, the experts said. Other preventive measures include getting experts on the disease in both countries to consult each other in their efforts to eradicate the worm. Another recommendation is to mobilise communities to pass on information on Guinea worm sufferers crossing their common border. The number of villages reporting cases of the disease in Togo has declined. In 1998, the 215 villages reported cases and this year 92. Benin's Ministry of Public Health reported there were 37,474 cases of the disease in 1990 and 695 last year.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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