Trans Nzoia, Kipsongo jigger victims in jubilation after receiving treatment
Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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Residents of the Kipsongo Estate in Kitale after the jigger treatment. [Photos/ Leonard Wamalwa]
Residents of Kipsongo estate within Kitale municipality who have for a long time been infected with jiggers are now gradually coming back to their feet after receiving medical aid from a Non-Governmental Organization advocating for the eradication of the menace in the country.
The victims confessed to journalists that they have indeed experienced major changes in their bodies and in their living environment since they started receiving treatment and care from Ahadi Kenya Foundation a few weeks ago.
“We are now happy that we are also feeling healthy and walking well like other people and we now know the importance of treatment and living in good environment,” said Patricia Lele a resident of the sprawling estate.
She said that the move has now changed the notion of the residents who are majorly from the Turkana community who did not consider treatment and good environment as an essential thing in their lives as they only valued food aid.
Over 2000 residents including women, children and old men are affected by jiggers in the slum estate and only about 350 have been reached and treated by Ahadi Kenya in a period of one month.
Majority of the residents have been grounded and impoverished by the jiggers and have been reduced to destitute living in abject poverty waiting for food aid from different donors.
A bigger percentage of the population does not engage in any economic activities that can generate income for them and their families.
Ahadi Kenya director Dr Kamau Mwangi speaking to the residents.
However, Ahadi Kenya director Dr Kamau Mwangi said that his organization has plans to treat the victims and engage them later in different income generating activities that can make them self sustaining and move away from the dependency syndrome.
He noted that the situation of jiggers shall be rooted out completely after poverty has also been done away with saying that treatment without economic empowerment shall not help the situation unless the affected people are engaged in economic activities.
Even though Mwangi pointed out that poor policies by the government have made it difficult to curb the menace which he said has affected over 2.6 million Kenyans.
He noted that in the five years that the organization has been in existence, only 200,000 people have been healed hence a bigger population still battle with the menace.
Dr Mwangi who was overseeing the spraying of houses of the residents using chemicals that are part of the treatment and caring exercise at the same time urged the residents to acquire national identity cards and become registered voters to be able to participate in the general elections in a move he said was good to bring in new leadership that may bring good policies in handling such matters.
“All these problems that these people are encountering are as a result of poor governance that the country has had in the years and therefore essence for change in leadership which everybody should participate through his or her constitutional right to vote,” Mwangi told the residents.
At the same time area assistant chief Bramwel Makokha who attended the exercise appealed for more donors and well wishers to come in and give their assistance to the victims in the estate and other areas in Trans Nzoia including Saboti, Cherangani and Endebes which he said are also having the same problem.