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Ethiopia facing another disease amid the fight against Coronavirus

Guinea-worm disease (GWD) posing a challenge in Gambella, South Western part of Ethiopia

Guinea-worm disease _ Kan Galwak _ Guinea-worm disease
Kan Galwak, Head of Gambella Regional State Health Office. Photo : ENA

April 28,2020 

As Ethiopia is waging an all-out war against the spread of Coronavirus disease by emphasizing prevention, Guinea-worm disease (GWD) is becoming a threat in the South Western part of the country. 

Gambella Regional State Health Office disclosed on Tuesday that Guinea-worm disease is resurging in the region, as reported by State Media – Ethiopian News Agency. 

Kan Galwak, head of the region’s health office, is cited as saying that the region has been free from the disease for more than two years. 

Dibacho locality in the Gog district is especially affected. An unspecified number of residents in the district are reported to have the GWD disease. 

A new settlement for agrarian life, unclear if it was authorized by the government, in the area exposed community members to unsafe drinking water. That is the explanation from the regional government.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes GWD as a disease caused by “parasitic worm Dracunculus medinensis or “Guinea-worm”. An infected person could have “intensely painful oedema, a blister and an ulcer accompanied by fever, nausea, and vomiting,” symptoms – according to WHO. 

Individuals infected with the disease in the Gambella region are getting treatments.  The regional state says up to fifty residents living in the new settlement where there is no access to safe drinking water are evacuated from the area and resettled in areas where there is clean drinking water. 

Apart from humans, the disease reportedly affected domesticated animals. And that has complicated the campaign to eradicate the disease, according to officials.  

The Health office in Gambella says it is partnering with Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Carter Center and other international organizations to do away with the GWD. 

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