The United Kingdom is contributing 20 million British pounds ($31.2 million) toward the Carter Center‘s final push to wipe out Guinea worm disease.
The Carter Center has waged a 25-year campaign against the water-borne parasite, which is now found only in Africa.
Cases have been reduced by 99 percent since 1986, with Niger, Nigeria andGhana seeing Guinea worm completely eradicated in the last two years. Some 1,800 known cases remain in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali and Chad.
Since there’s no cure for the disease, the British government’s donation will focus on teaching people how to avoid it. The funds will support health education and training of local health workers. Water filters and larvicide to kill the worm during the early stages of infection will also be supplied.
The Carter Center’s goal is to eliminate the disease by 2015 with the funding being donated over the next four years.
“I am proud that the U.K. government is supporting the Carter Center’s vision and commitment to strive for this goal,” Annabelle Malins, British consul general in Atlanta, told GlobalAtlanta. “Our government has shown remarkable resolve to protect and grow our foreign aid project, even at this time of national austerity.”
The British donation represents one-third of the funds the Carter Center needs to finish the job. Ms. Malins said she hoped the U.S. and other countries would follow suit.
“I welcome the challenge laid down by the British government,” said President Carter in a news release. “The U.K. has shown its willingness and staying power to help eradicate this debilitating disease. I call on other donors to match their efforts.”
To learn more, visit www.cartercenter.org/health/guinea_worm/index.html.