Norway’s Medical Students Support Guinea Worm Eradication in Sudan Through HDI

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The Medical Students Humanitarian Action Campaign in 2003 made it possible for HDI and its partners to supply all of Sudan’s accessible endemic villages with medical kits for bandaging the guinea worm sores, even though there was a war going on.

This helped interrupt Guinea Worm transmission much more quickly than otherwise would have occurred.

Former US President Jimmy Carter

Former US President Jimmy Carter with medical kit for Sudan from Norwegian Medical Students (Photo: The Carter Center/E. Staub 2003)

While the civil war in southern Sudan was still ongoing, the medical students dedicated their biennial Medical Students Humanitarian Action Campaign (MedHum) to HDI, to help eradicate Guinea Worm Disease from Sudan.

During 10 days in September 2003, essentially all of Norway’s medical students in the country’s four universities raised more than 1.6 million Norwegian kroner over a 10-day period (> $208,000 then or $302,000 today, in ‘08).

A nationally known artist, Ida Lorentzen, donated a picture that the students auctioned. And donations were solicited from the whole medical community through the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association.

The students also held concerts, put on a cabaret theater production, went door to door in each of the four cities, solicited donations at Norway’s premier soccer games, had outdoor and indoor stands in Norway’s main cities and in shopping malls featuring humorous as well as informative elements including “throw wet sponges” at white-coated medical students and face-painting events for kids, “Teddy Bear Hospitals,” etc.

This bought 7,000 medical kits, one for each guinea worm volunteer in every accessible village on both sides of Sudan’s civil war, with an additional 424,350 pipe filters and a full compliment of medical kit refills in 2005.