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The Condition

Each year It’s for Africa partners with Mpendo Packer Foundation to assist in the removal and eradication of jiggers found in southern Uganda. Jiggers are parasitic worms that bore through the skin and can cause serious health issues. They generally start in the feet but they can spread across the entire body causing extreme pain and itching.  It’s impossible for me to comprehend the suffering these people experience. Left untreated, jiggers can even cause death. 

About $10 US pays for medical staff to remove the jiggers and to give medication, antiseptics, shoes, hygiene education, and to fumigate village homes. A little goes a long way, but there is a long way to go.

Removing the parasites that are spreading across feet, into nail beds.
Serious infestation in an elderly villager we met last year. In severe infestations across the body, part of the skin has to be cut away to remove the parasitic worms.

Jiggers become especially problematic when poor villagers allow their animals or livestock to be or sleep in their homes. The villagers often do this to assure they are not stolen, but the jigger parasites easily spread to humans.

Jiggers have spread across body onto hands and under nail beds.
Only a handful give any indication of the pain they are experiencing.

Ugandans, especially indigent villagers, know way too much about pain and affliction; generally they suffer in silence. Their endurance, without any medications, is truly phenomenal. Pain and suffering are a big part of their existence which they have learned to accept. We marvel at their inner strength.

Jiggers Service

Our June 2019 Jiggers Treatment was at a large village school. These are only part of the throngs of children who had been waiting our arrival. As they gathered around the bus, Brooks taught many of them a famous southern greeting, “Roll Tide!” which they repeated several times in unison.
Initial step: IFA’s service team soak then scrub the hands and feet of all the children to be treated. (This becomes backbreaking work for volunteers.)
Nurses or trained medical staff then remove the jiggers
This child had painful parasites spreading up his leg, as well as his feet and nails.
After receiving medications, every child gets a pair of shoes.
When treatments are done in the village, clothing is also distributed. Students recdeiving treatment at school have uniforms.
Executive Director Sussie Apondi (between Pam M. and Catherine F.) with treated children in her home village

In addition to funding the jiggers treatment and distributing Days for Girls feminine hygiene kits, Its for Africa brings hundreds of skirts or dresses, shorts and tops, for boys and girls made or purchased by St. Ann’s Widows Ministry (Coppell TX). As you can see, these are sorely needed. Many thanks to Kathy Skierski and her group for their substantial donations! And even more gratitude to Sussie for her unwavering commitment to try to eradicate jiggers.

Mpendo Packer Foundation about to open First Jiggers Clinic in Uganda (2018)

You can learn how to help @itsforafrica.org or on Facebook.

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