About HDI

Accomplishments & Activities

Health & Development International (HDI) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) with offices in the United States and Norway and is dedicated to working toward the eradication of Guinea worm disease and lymphatic filariasis in Africa and elsewhere.

HDI’s partners include national governments, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Carter Center, and major corporations.

What is Guinea worm disease?

Guinea worm is a parasitic disease that humans contract by drinking water contaminated with water fleas carrying infective larvae. A year after the larvae are ingested, one or more worms that have grown up to one meter long, painfully emerge over several days through the skin of men, women, and children afflicted with this disease.

What is lymphatic filariasis?

Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease transmitted among humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes. It can lead to lymphoedema and elephantiasis, a crippling condition in which limbs or other parts of the body become swollen in a dramatic and grotesque manner. In males it also leads to disfigurement of the external genitalia, e.g., the scrotum can increase to more than the size of a basketball and weigh 15 kg. or 33 lb.

Some examples of what HDI has done

  • Distributed over 9 million individual water pipe filters in Sudan that are used to filter water while drinking and avoid ingesting infective larvae.
  • Established a Guinea worm rewards program to provide monetary rewards to people who report cases and to patients who go to special centers for treatment.
  • Organized mass drug distribution programs to stop transmission of lymphatic filariasis, helping over 5.5 million people in Ghana and Togo alone in 2003.
  • Coordinated key meetings to design and plan global lymphatic filariasis efforts.
  • Produced a landmark manual for public health workers on the treatment of lymphatic filariasis, distributing English and French editions across Africa.
  • Started the world’s first community-based rapid obstetric fistula prevention program, in Bankilare Niger.