GLOBAL HEALTH FRONTIERS: FOUL WATER, FIERY SERPENT is an inspiring story that will show you the difference individuals can make in the lives of many.
In 1986 there were an estimated 3.5 million cases of Guinea worm in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. But after a 24-year eradication campaign led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the Atlanta-based Carter Center, the total number of Guinea worm cases was reduced to less than 1,800 cases at the end of 2010. Soon it is likely to be the second human disease in history to be eradicated from Earth.
What does it take to eradicate an entire disease?
It’s a relentless cycle of successes and failures. The heroes in this story are making medical history in an epic struggle to drive an ancient enemy into extinction.
The first in the Global Health Frontiers specials, FOUL WATER, FIERY SERPENT follows a cast of engaging, passionate characters as they confront the disabling parasitic infection known as Guinea worm disease. The disease is characterized by agonizing skin blisters and flu-like symptoms, earning it the nickname, "the fiery serpent."
Narrated by Academy AwardŽ-winner Sigourney Weaver, the film follows health workers over a three year period as they track the last-known reports of guinea worm in Ghana and Sudan. Once afflicting more than 3.5 million victims in 20 countries across Africa and Asia, incredibly fewer than 1,500 cases exist today.
Facing ignorance and tribal superstitions in a harsh, vast landscape ravaged by war, these dedicated young men and women and their local community partners struggle to drive an ancient enemy into extinction. Attacking the parasites where they thrive — in poor, remote villages reliant upon contaminated water — they distribute filter cloths, treat water sources with safe pesticides, educate villages and tend to victims suffering from the disease.
Following the victory against smallpox, the Guinea worm campaign stands at the threshold of eradicating the second disease in human history — and the first without the use of vaccines or medical treatment.
For information on the companion documentary, please visit the catalog page for GLOBAL HEALTH FRONTIERS: DARK FOREST, BLACK FLY.
Produced by Cielo Productions, Inc., 2010.