Campaign for the eradication of dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease) began in Ebonyi State in the 1980s. A combination of interventions consisting of construction of bore holes,chemical treatment of unsafe water sources with temephos, distribution of filters, health education, social mobilization and active surveillance were applied in Ohaukwu L.G.A. from the early 1990s. Records from health workers in the area showed an infection rate of 4.7%(287/6050) in eight villages from 2001 to 2002. We conducted a survey of the impact of the eradication program in the same area from October 2002 to May 2003. The results showed a decrease in the infection rate with 57 cases in the eight villages. Thirty-five of these cases were recurrent while twenty-two had the infection for the first time. About 63.2% of the infected persons did not use the boreholes for various reasons especially due to its salty taste. Most of the people did not filter or boil their drinking water and their reasons include time factor and the exercise being boring. More than half of those infected indicated that they visited the ponds while the worms were emerging from their bodies. Our study also showed that the intensity of health education had declined and the boreholes were not regularly maintained. Renewed awareness and greater participation of the communities and the local government will help free the area from the disease.
KEY WORDS: Guinea worm, Eradication, Impact
Journal of Biomedical Investigation 2004;2(1): 31-34