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Widow battling jigger infestation appeals for help

A widow in Kabonge Village of Kirinyaga West Sub County, has appealed for help to tackle a severe jigger infestation that is wreaking havoc on her family.
Mercy Wangithi, a mother of five, is suffering from a devastating invasion by the bloodsuckers. The situation has been made worse by the sorry state of her house.
The casual labourer in neighbourhood tea farms roughly earns less than Sh100 after plucking 10kgs of green leaf per day. This amount is not enough to feed a family of six. In some instances, a tea farmer may not give her a job fearing failure to deliver due to jiggers that have infested her fingers.
“Sometimes I lack a job because employers feel I might not be able to work properly because I am too affected by the jiggers,” Wangithi said.
Her children are also suffering jigger infestation. The first born who is a Form Two student at Kabonge Secondary School can’t walk well because of the fleas that ravaged her toes. The other four children have heavily infected feet, fingers and even elbows. Wangithi said they have been surviving on the support of her aunt to get food and clothes.
Cecilia Wangeci, her aunt, who has been helping Wangithi said sometimes she fails to put food on the table.

Mercy Wangithi checking the feet of her young son. Photo by Mutai Kipngetich

Wangeci has her own family too to take care of. She added that her attempt to treat the menace including literally trying to gouge out the bloodsuckers have borne no fruit.
Mercy Wangithi lives in an old dilapidated house that was long ago left by her grandmother and which direly needs disinfection.
She also takes full responsibility for her five children who her aunt said some rogue men took advantage of her situation in terms of poverty and illiteracy.
Her neighbours said they have tried to assist, including building another house for the family with the hope of eradicating the jiggers.
Jane Nyawira, one of the neighbouring residents, said she has been assisting Wangithi’s family. She pays for their milk every morning as children could sometimes go to school without breakfast.
They are pleading with well-wishers, including Ahadi Kenya Trust who have been leading in eradicating jiggers in the country, to intervene and help the family.
The children’s health is deteriorating and their future is at stake if they fail to get urgent help.

By Mutai Kipngetich

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