Nairobi, Kenya -- Africa Bound Corporation (ABC) www.africabound.org and Senegal Neem Foundation (SNF) www.senegalneemfoundation.org President Dr. Doudou Diané Faye and Lasting Value CEO Meredith Beal join forces to address critical health issues in Africa. They donated funds to Ahadi Kenya Trust’s Anti-Jigger Treatment Program. ABC, SNF and Lasting Value are bringing scientific expertise, financial resources and media power to the campaign to eradicate jiggers.
These specific jiggers (Tunga penetrans) are small pin-head-sized sand fleas found in most tropical and sub-tropical climates. They hide in crevices and cracks found on floors, walls of dwellings and furniture. Breeding females burrow into exposed skin on the feet, toenails and fingernails of humans and other mammals causing intense irritation. Untreated, the condition leads to pain and in extreme cases, inability to walk or write. Children with jiggers often drop out of school because they cannot walk or if they do attend school, they may not be able to write if the infestation is on the hands and often cannot concentrate because of the pain. Jigger victims also have to deal with stigmatization and ridicule which sometimes prevents them from seeking treatment. There are over 2.6 million Kenyans infested with jiggers registered by Ahadi Kenya Trust.
Ahadi Kenya Trust (www.jigger-ahadi.org), founded by Dr. Stanley Kamau, is a Kenyan non-profit organization dedicated to halting the spread of jiggers. Cecilia Mwangi, former Miss Kenya, is spokesperson for Ahadi and Ambassador for the Anti-Jigger Campaign. To date, Ahadi’s outreach program has rehabilitated more than 3,000 people previously suffering from Tungaisis.
A native of Senegal residing in Austin, TX, Faye, who holds a Ph.D. in Entomology and Agronomy, was in Nairobi as a guest speaker at a conference of the Pesticide Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (www.pmfai.org). Faye has been focusing on integrated pest management programs to address pest issues and support malaria prevention programs in Africa.
Beal is a Knight International Journalism Fellow, headquartered in Nairobi working with the African Media Initiative to strengthen media organizations in Africa. He also is working to leverage the power of the media to spread awareness about health issues facing the continent. Beal, a former Global Webmaster at Dell, also owned several radio stations in Texas over the past decade and also has a background as a chemist and entomologist.
Treatment of jiggers is simple and inexpensive, inhibited primarily by poverty, lack of awareness and lack of political will.
From this initial international outreach, Faye and Beal are developing solutions intended to be scalable around the continent.