On Thursday 20th July the Kids at Eshibinga computer class had a discussion which was recoreded on their xo laptops about Jiggers and howthey affected learning in thta village school in Western Kenya called Eshibinga Primary. I started by asking what are jiggers
Nancy answered: “The tiny insects often attack the feet of passers-by who walk or hike in dusty dry bushy places and beaches, or who visit animal stables without shoes on”
Jessica said’ “ In Eshibinga primary school most of the kids have never put on a pair of shoes and that is why jiggers love feasting on our feet.
Teacher asked; “ What make jiggers such an irritant to you all?” Mercy said, “ is that once it touches the skin, the female jigger burrows itself 5mm into the host’s flesh, where it can lay over 100 eggs or more in 30 days. An itchy irritating sensation is felt, which if scratched ruptures the egg sac, multiplying the infestation. The jiggers and the hatchlings live off the host’s flesh and blood, crippling any part of the body that becomes jigger infested, and causing septic sores.
The open sores leave the body prone to secondary infections, such as tetanus or leprosy. Recent research at the University of Nairobi shows that HIV can also be transmitted on the needles used to remove jiggers, when the needles are shared by many people.
What are the Psychological effects of jiggers to your school,
Many, including low self esteem and shame. During the 2007 elections, half a million Kenyans failed to vote as they couldn’t walk to polling stations, and also feared being stigmatised, as a result of their jigger infestations. But in our school kids just fail to come to school thus rendering them illiterate, poor, dirty, aloof etc.
HOW CAN WE HELP
1. Washington says. “ What we need to do is to teach kids in our school about basic hygiene and the watering of dusty havens around the house. To do this we need to help those kids get plastic basins to use for taking a bath and they need to go to the river every evening after school to fetch water for domestic use.
2. Ojowi: 12 year old boy says according to a book i have read, we need to use insecticides and occasional fumigation, and spraying of lawns and gardens with ‘doom’ ( a local brand insecticide), is also recommended.
In Kenya the single worst hit area by jiggers has been Eshibinga Muranga and also a neighbouring place called Emuhaya.
3. Janet is 13 years and she says, The common problem in Eshibinga is besides poor hygiene is poverty. In Eshibinga due to poverty people share their sleeping units with goats, and chicken” said Timina a nine year old girl at Eshibinga primary . “ Yes” agreed the rest of the class, “Animals are major carriers of fleas, ticks and jiggers”.
Tto solve these we will need lots of money. We need to get the kids in our school to stop sharing their bedrooms with chicken and goats. That means building chicken pens It is a lot of money.
4. Teacher Gertrude says,..” But children your attitudes have also hampered progress. Many of you don’t just want to be helped. The government treats the jigger issue as a social problem, not medical, which is how it should be”. The rest of the class agrees, that many kids who have jiggers in our school fear removing the jiggers claiming it is very painful. They would rather stay with them.
5. Robert gave a solution by saying, “ We need to tell the rest of the people in Kenya and the world to help us buy soap, disinfectant and insecticides. To do that we need money. Our village is poor nobody has the money to give us. So we better ask. The Bible says ask and it shall be given to us. Somebody will give us money…even president obama”!
6. Washington added, “ Not only to buy soap, we need shoes. We need someone to help us buy shoes. My parent just cannot. He is to poor. Even we need to get bicycles to school to avoid getting the jiggers along the way.
7. Teacher Amunga added, That is why you need to use those laptops to record your voices and send those requests through internet to people around the world. You need to get your voices heard.
Teacher Ambani concluded the topic on how to treat jiggers, the infested part of the body is soaked in medicinal antiseptics for 15 minutes, then needles or forceps are used to remove the bugs. The removal is relatively painless, but for the slight sharpness of the antiseptics on the sores. Effective removal involves “digging” around the infested area, while being careful not to rupture the inflated egg sac. If ruptured, the egg sac can cause a re-infestation. After removal, the sore is then cleaned up with iodine, Dettol, Savlon or alcohol, and covered up.