The Commission meets as and when necessary at WHO headquarters in Geneva to evaluate the status of countries applying for certification of dracunculiasis eradication and to recommend whether a particular country should be certified as free of transmission.
A country endemic for dracunculiasis reporting zero indigenous cases over a complete calendar year is deemed to have prevented transmission of guinea-worm disease and is classified in a precertification stage.
To be declared free of dracunculiasis, a country that has stopped transmission of the disease must have reported zero indigenous cases through active surveillance for at least three calendar years.
A national report should document all actions taken from the beginning of the programme, including the three-year period, to interrupt transmission and confirm zero occurrence of guinea-worm disease cases.
After this period, an International Certification Team (ICT) visits the country to verify the information in the national report. During its visit, ICT assesses the adequacy of the surveillance system and reviews records of investigations for rumoured cases and subsequent actions taken.
Since its establishment in 1995 to the end of 2013, the ICCDE has met nine times. It has certified 197 countries, territories and areas (belonging to 185 Member States)as free of dracunculiasis.
The latest to attain this status in December 2013 include formerly endemic countries Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Niger as well as Somalia and South Africa which have had no history of guinea-worm disease.
To achieve global certification of dracunculiasis eradication, WHO must formally certify every individual country even if no transmission has ever been recorded in that particular country.