This letter serves as a reaction to the article entitled “Trachoma, worms’ common diseases in rural areas – report” by Martin TINDIWENSI, which was published in The New Times issue N˚1747, page 9, on 10 March, 2009.
It was a surprise to read the above article that implies that Guinea-worms are common in certain areas of Rwanda. I want to clarify that Guinea worm is not found in Rwanda.
In addition, TRAC Plus and the National Reference Laboratory, Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Access Project, have conducted surveys among school children aged 10 to 16 years old (“School Prevalence Surveys on Soil Transmitted Helminths and Schistosomiasis, Rwanda, 2007”) and (“Trachoma Rapid Assessment, Rwanda 2008”) and have found that the most common NTD (Neglected Tropical Diseases) in Rwanda are intestinal worms (soil-transmitted helminths); intestinal bilharzias was found only in regions surrounding lakes and some swampy areas.
According to these two studies, intestinal worms are widespread throughout the country, with an overall prevalence estimated at 65.8%.
It was also found that Trachoma was not a very common disease in Rwanda and in general is not a public health problem, except in a few villages of two districts surveyed.
Reports of findings from various studies on NTDs (Neglected Tropical Diseases) in Rwanda are available from the TRAC Plus, Ministry of Health and Access Project.
Prof. Michael Kramer
DG TRAC Plus