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LEWA STAFF VOLUNTEERS RID COMMUNITIES OF JIGGERS

August 11, 2011

A jigger is a tiny sand flea that feeds by burrowing into the skin of its host, mostly humans. It is very unfortunate that many rural dwellers in Kenya suffer the inability to walk easily due to pain in the affected areas of their legs and cannot carry out normal day to day activities, are subjected to stigmatization by their neighbours, and suffer low self esteem resulting from the stigmatization. Furthermore, they are exposed to the risk of getting infections such as HIV/Aids that are passed from person to person due to sharing of pins that they use to remove jiggers embedded in their feet.

Such is a village neighboring Lewa, called Manyangalo. Ahadi Kenya Trust, who run an anti jigger campaign. With the support of Safaricom Limited and the Lewa Clinic staff, they took the initiative to visit this community nearly a month ago. Approximately 300 of its members, mostly children, suffer from jigger infestation not only on their feet and hands but also knees and elbows.  What cause it? Many may assume that it is the lack of shoes as most people do walk around bare foot, but the main cause is poor hygiene conditions that provides an environment in which sand fleas thrive.

On the 28th July, Lewa staff members volunteered and conducted a follow-up anti-jigger campaign. They cleaned feet and hands, removed jiggers, chemically treated the environments in which the community live and educated this community on the importance of good hygiene. Lewa Staff plan to conduct a series of anti-jigger campaigns within this neighbouring community in the near future.