Grace: Nigeria’s last case of guinea worm

After my first visit to Nigeria in 2001, when I saw more than my fair share of guinea worm infections, I returned to Nigeria for a book project I claimed to be working on. It was 2009 and I was a freelancer.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I asked the Carter Center if I could go meet the last person — a woman named Grace Otubo — to have guinea worm in Nigeria. After a long and frequently bumpy drive from Abuja, we arrived at the village of Ezza Nkwubor, outside of Enugu.

Based on the greeting I received, I think they must have assumed I was someone more important.

Here, in their own words, and song, they celebrate no longer having guinea worm to deal with. They still have health problems, emphasizing that they still need basic health services such as maternal and child care. They still deal with malaria and pneumonia. But they do have one thing to get up and dance about. I later decided I had to join in the dancing, but deleted that part from the video:


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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.