Saving Lives, Treating Feet
We are seeing so much breakthrough as we continue to treat Tungiasis! In March, we held Tungiasis treatment programmes across four poor rural communties, where we successfully treated 359 people, most of whom were children.
Incase you missed our last Giving Feet a Fighting Chance blog, here is a quick breakdown of what it’s all about...
Give Feet a Fighting Chance is one of our big ongoing projects that works to treat the problem of Tungiasis (known locally as Jiggers) in Western Kenya. Tungiasis is a flea that lives in dusty ground and buries into the flesh. Left untreated, it can cause immobility, loss of limbs or even death due to secondary infections.
In most cases, the feet simply need to be cleaned, soaked in antiseptic and covered with petroleum jelly in order to suffocate the Tunga Penetran. This process is repeated numerous times until the cycle of Tungiasis has ended and the feet have healed. Not owning shoes is also a major contributory factor in this problem continuing, so we give a pair of shoes to all children who complete their treatment, to prevent further infection.
Being able to treat Tungiasis is life changing for the people affected. Children are socially excluded due to the shame associated with the condition, they are often unable to walk to school due to the severity of the infection in their feet and if they do get to school they find it hard to concentrate due to the pain. Adults suffering with Tungiasis face the same exclusion and in the more extreme cases are unable to farm or work to provide food for the family home as a result of the debilitating condition. The 359 people who recently went through treatment were overjoyed to receive this care and support.
These medical treatment programmes help to highlight extreme cases of vulnerabilty so they can be followed up by our amazing Kenyan social care team, who continue treatment where necessary. As well as treating feet we strive to see the horrendous living conditions of sufferers be turned around completely. The intital findings of Tungiasis has led to The KCP building homes for struggling families and has enabled the rescue of children from terrible situations of neglect. Give Feet a Fighting Chance is a KCP project that is making great impact.
We started these treatment programmes with a reminder to "look up from the feet and see the person". At The KCP our mission is to bring hope to the hopeless, love to the lonely and peace to their hearts. Some of the children we treat are so emotionally shut down from being in so much pain for so long, and treating the individuals feet is huge, but showing the individual who is suffering with this "shameful" condition that they are valued and loved is just as huge! One highlight was seeing a young boy who we haven't seen smile for 3 years start to smile and then laugh as one of our team was treating their feet and engaging with them.
Below is a picture of one of the team doing just that, looking up from the feet to let the child know they are valued and loved.