OUTAPI – Following the detection of Guinea worms in southern Angola the World Health Organization (WHO) is in the Omusati Region to sensitise the community and detect, if any, unnoticed Guinea worm cases.
Angola has detected two cases along the border with Namibia.
WHO Technical Advisor Dr Joe Nakinpak Bariki-Laar said the visit to the country was essential because Angolans frequent Namibian health facilities. “Hence WHO has taken the responsibility to come down to this country to, with the support of the ministry of health, sensitise the communities and be able to know if there are worm cases that were not seen,” said Bariki-Laar.
Bariki-Laar shared the information briefly at a hepatitis E dissemination and information sharing session held at Outapi on Monday.
According to an article by WHO, Guinea worms are linked to drinking contaminated water from ponds or shallow open walls.
Once such water is consumed, a cyclops is dissolved by the stomach gastric acid and the larvae are released and migrate through the intestinal wall.
“After 100 days, the male and female meet and mate. The male becomes encapsulated and dies in the tissues while the female moves down the muscle planes. After about a year of the infection, the female worm emerges usually from the feet releasing thousands of larvae, thus repeating the cycle,” WHO reported further.
Because the people may not have symptoms until over a year, someone infected with Guinea worms may develop fever, swelling and pain a few days or hours before the worm makes its exit from the body.
Bariki-Laar further explained the worms do not only affect human beings but also animals.
The Director of Health and Social Services Alfons Amoomo asked of the community through their councillors to render their full support to the team.
He said the team which comprises three officials has identification cards.
“These people will be in your constituenc – please they have been granted permission from my office, hence do not chase them away,” Amoomo said.
He said the information collected would assist the region to see if it has such cases and thereby improve service delivery.
There were cases of Guinea worms before but were long ago eradicated, in the 90s.