An Easter to Remember
May 4th, 2017
Easter weekend was no ordinary one for Tumaini this year. We collaborated with several private and government medical institutions and practitioners in the coastal counties of Mombasa and Kilifi to hold a medical camp for two days. Both Masii and Machakos Christian Chapels representatives came alongside and proved invaluable partners as we provided spiritual healing as well. Our staff traveled some 380 miles from our base in Masii to Kilifi (about a ten-hour journey on rather bumpy roads!) and camped in the sleepy village of Gongoni and the environs. During the two-day medical camp, a total of 829 patients were attended to, mostly addressing the two leading tropical diseases of malaria and intestinal helminthiasis. What our medics were not prepared for was the high incidence of bilharzia and jiggers. Indeed, 14.5% of those who came for treatment had bilharzia, and 8.1% had jiggers.
In layman’s terms, bilharzia, also known as "snail fever" is a disease caused by a parasite. The parasite is a worm that affects the intestines and the urinary system first, but because it lives in the blood, it can affect other systems. Jiggers, on the other hand, are sand fleas that enter the human body through the feet/toes. Once inside the human body they lay pea-size eggs and multiply causing swelling, itching, and disfiguration, among other side effects.
As the photos would indicate, these diseases cause a lot of pain to those suffering. As we soon found out, patients with these diseases also suffer social stigma. However, there is hope.
There is a silver lining to this situation. Patients with these diseases can be treated to full recovery. Tumaini is committed to working with the community leaders and partner with local public health and medical practitioners in providing the help needed to those who are affected. We are in a position to provide hope to as many people as we can. We are designing both short and long-term solutions to address these and other health-related challenges.
Thank you for your unwavering support. We cannot accomplish all of this without your prayers and financial support. We are committed to change one person, one community at a time as we address challenging health issues that affect the communities we serve.