Guinea Worm: The End Of The Road
By Sharon Baker
The ongoing campaign to eradicate Guinea worm has been one of the most important international public health successes of the 20th Century. The documentary film Guinea Worm takes us inside the multi-pronged fight against the disease.
Once prevalent throughout Asia, Africa, and the Americas, Guinea worm now occurs in just 13 countries, and the number of known cases has been reduced from 3.5 million in 1986, to 65,000 in 2002. The only real obstacle to complete eradication of this disease is not technical, or a lack of money, but war. Presently, 80% of the cases in the world are in Sudan, virtually all in the war ravaged south of the country.
A water-borne parasite that lodges in the lower extremities of the human body, the Guinea worm grows to a length of three feet, slithers around inside the host, and then, over a very painful two month period, burrows out through the skin.
Guinea Worm introduces Dr. Donald Hopkins, who is leading the fight to eradicate this endemic, and visits Nigeria, Benin, and Ghana - three of the nations with the greatest incidences of guinea worm - and examines steps being taken to fight this affliction.
From the strategic planning level involving the World Health Organization, Global 2000, and such well known individuals as former President Jimmy Carter; to governments' involvement in implementing workable plans for their countries; to the actual field doctors and villagers who are the "last battleground," Guinea Worm is a case study of a hugely successful, major health initiative at work in the third world.
As it demonstrates how obstacles such as illiteracy and inadequate funding are confronted, Guinea Worm makes the case for improving health care in underdeveloped nations.
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" * * * * [4 out of 4 stars]! Highly Recommended! An ultimately uplifting documentary about a major public health issue that, unlike so many others, has a positive resolution within sight."—Video Rating Guide for Libraries
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