Pupils in Msambweni constituency, Kwale County are increasingly dropping out of school due to rampant jigger infestation.
At least 50 pupils have been reported as having quit school in Mbaazini village, Kinondo ward which is one of the hardest hit by the jiggers.
Education stakeholders are concerned as the invasion could reverse the gains made so far in the ongoing campaign to achieve 100 percent transition from primary to secondary school.
With a population of about 200 people, the poor village has known no peace due to the parasitic insects which are wreaking havoc and stymieing livelihoods.
Charity Mbula, an early childhood education teacher, said many young children are the most affected by the jigger menace that has led to serious disruption of learning.
She said the victims suffer a lot of discomfort and agonizing pain and cannot do anything for themselves due to swollen limbs.
“The affected kids are unable to pursue education and cannot do anything else apart from crying from physical and psychological pain,” said Ms. Mbula.
A parent, Elizabeth Kanyua said the situation was worsening and called for immediate remedial action by the government and well-wishers to avert further jigger related health problems.
She said jiggers have not only affected their children but their economic status as well.
“It is true that children are the most affected but even adults are not spared nuisance making it difficult for them to provide for the family,” added Ms. Kanyua.
According to some of the residents, the village is also reeling under the effects of excessive consumption of illicit brews and high poverty levels which compounds the jigger problem.
“Most people are drunkards and have no time to look after their children, hence misery confronts them on a daily basis,” a resident who spoke anonymously said.
A children’s rights activist from Trace Kenya Organization Mr. Gabriel Mukwhana urged the government to intervene to eradicate jiggers in the region.
By Shaban Omar and James Muchai