Diseases

These Health Warriors Are Using Education To End A Disease

This article is part of HuffPosts Project Zerocampaign, a yearlong series on neglected tropical diseases and efforts to fight them.

Most people arent very well known Guinea worm disease thats because it has almost disappeared.

In 1985, the disease had infected about 3.5 million people. At last counting, only 25 cases remain.

People contract the Guinea worm, a parasite, by drinking contaminated water. The worm is about as thick-skulled as a piece of spaghetti and can grow as long as three paws. It lives inside the body until its ready to emerge from the scalp in a long and painful process.

Today, the disease exists in only three African countries, and its not contended with capsules or inoculations, but with education, proper tools and the empowerment of neighbourhood community members. The Carter Center, a nonprofit founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, has played a crucial role in drastically reducing an instance of this disease.

The Huffington Post sat down with Dr. Donald Hopkins, a special adviser to The Carter Center on the area of combating Guinea worm, to talk about the road to stamping out this disease forever. Watch the video above to learn more.

Video produced by Sharaf Mowjood, shot by Chelsea Moynehan, Shane Handler, Dan Fox and Mike Caravella and edited by Chai Dingari.

The Carter Center is a recipient of grants from the Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation, which also funds this series. All content is editorially independent, with no force or input from the foundation.If youd like to contribute a post to the series, send an email to ProjectZero @huffingtonpost.com. And follow the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #ProjectZero.

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