Dracunculiasis

South Sudan introduces reward to accelerate detection and reporting

Geneva, Switzerland
11 April 2014

Countries report only 3 cases in January and February 2014

The decline in the number of guinea-worm disease (dracunculiasis) cases reported to WHO continues after a historic low of 148 cases was recorded for the whole of 2013.

Despite recent events in South Sudan, the national dracunculiasis eradication programme has stayed its course and has now introduced a cash reward system to provide incentives to individuals infected by the disease to come forward.

This cash reward system comes at an opportune time and not only compensates people infected by the disease but also informs the health authorities about a case. We hope this will provide added impetus to people to come forward as the number of cases becomes rarer.

Dr Gautam Biswas, Team Leader of WHO’s Guinea-Worm Disease eradication unit

“This cash reward system comes at an opportune time”, says Dr Gautam Biswas, Team Leader of WHO’s Guinea-Worm Disease eradication unit. “It not only compensates people infected by the disease but also informs the health authorities about a case. We hope this will provide added impetus to people to come forward as the number of cases becomes rarer.”

Any individual presenting with the disease who meets all the criteria for containment is now rewarded with 500 South Sudanese pounds (SSP). The informer is given 100 SSP.

The announcement of the cash reward system by Dr Margaret Itto, State Minister of Health for Kapoeta East, on 9 April 2014 comes as the country celebrated zero reported cases from November 2013 to February 2014. Dr Itto handed the first ever cash reward to an infected individual in Kwauto West sub-district (Payam) in Kapoeta East county in the Eastern Equatoria State.

A total of 77 cases were reported from Kapoeta East county alone in 2013.

South Sudan has made remarkable progress over the past 6 years, with indigenous transmission now localized in a few regions of the country. It reported 113 cases for the whole of 2013 as compared with 521 in 2012 – representing a reduction of 78%.

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