The Government has been urged to improve the infrastructural condition of most rural schools which are in dilapidated state.
The Public Health Officer for Lugari Ward John Ombuna said the poor structures with dust contribute to spread of jiggers which become uncontrollable afflicting nearby communities whose children learn in those schools.
An example is Marula Primary School in Lugari Ward which has poor structures, lacks a fence and its floors are dusty yet its walls are made of bricks.
Ombuna says in normal cases, the school should have been closed for failure to meet the required public health sanitation standards.
He said the school with more than 637 children poses a risk to the children’s health who may not compete favorably with other students countrywide in class for learning in a harsh environment.
“Most schools in Lugari fell short of the sanitation standards required,” he disclosed.
He was speaking during an anti-jigger campaign at Marula Primary School which was carried out in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), Masinde Muliro University Students, Kenya Medical Training College Students, Champions of Peace Volunteers and disaster response team from PIMAC Consortium.
Ombina noted that since the beginning of the 2022/2023 financial year in July, the public health department has conducted outreaches in three villages of Mahema, Luanda Lugari and Marula.
During the anti-jigger outreaches, the public health treated 102 children against jiggers in Mahema, 28 in Luanda Lugari and 58 in Marula. During the Anti-jigger campaign, the partners fumigated 50 households.
Ombina also urged the county government to establish a dispensary close to the area to ease the burden of seeking medication where locals travel for long distances to seek medication with the closest health facility which is Mukuyu dispensary, located 6 kilometers away.
The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) Coordinator for Lugari Sub County Martin Anyonge said jigger infestation is rampant in Marula, Mahema, Luanda Lugari and Maweni villages.
He said KRCS has been working with other organizations like Peace Ambassadors Kenya and the Ministry of Health in treating and monitoring the spread and mapping areas for intervention.
“We are trying our best to assist but it is seeming impossible to fully eradicate the jiggers,” he noted.
A lecturer at Kenya Medical Training College Lugari Campus in charge of Public Health officers, Community Health Assistants and Health records officers, Micheal Nyongesa Makabila said the anti-jigger campaign extended to Sichimi and pan paper market.
He said it is possible to eradicate jiggers by utilizing Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) to visit homes and educate the community on personal and home hygiene.
The Chief Executive Officer of Pimac International Consortium Pius Masai Machi lamented that leaders from the area have neglected the community by failing to assist them to rise from the jigger infestation and malnutrition.
He noted some of the children had severe jigger attacks up to the elbows, fingers and were in great pain.
Masai therefore urged elected and other leaders to be responsible and help the community rise from the challenges they are facing while urging the public health department to be firm to ensure sanitation standards are maintained to safeguard children.
By Moses Wekesa