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Community Service

Mount Kenya UniversityOhio State University and Partners for Care have for the second year running embarked on the altruistic effort of fighting chigoe fleas in Marsabit County.

Chigoe fleas (scientific name ‘Tunga Penetrans’) or jiggers, are parasitic insects mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical climates. They burrow into a victim’s flesh and reproduce rapidly.

Participants during the Marsabit community program

The team treated more than 300 children from various schools within the county. Among the beneficiary schools were Marsabit Full primary, SKM Primary, Hulahula, Manyata Jillo and Kiwanja.

The three-day activity also involved students from MKU School of Nursing. The team also conducted the jigger-fighting exercise at Marsabit Referral Hospital, Buruharo Dispensary and Parkishon Dispensary.

Three hundred and eighteen children were treated for the parasitic arthropod that is rampant in tropical climates. The arthropod burrows into the limbs and multiplies, causing intense swelling, itchiness and discomfort. A group of students from Ohio State University, US, also participated in the two-day activity.

The team had erected treatment camps at schools and manyattas. Village elders and community health were engaged to guide the teams to the schools and villages. In   some instances, the teams had to walk and carry the jigger treatment kits. The actual treatment involved washing the feet with water and soap, soaking them in potassium permanganate for about 10 min and then applying a layer of Vaseline jelly. After this treatment, each child received a new pair of shoes.

Partners for Care has treated over 12,500 children in Marsabit County. On the second day of the activity, the staff from MKU, PFC and a student leader from Ohio State University met H.E the Governor of Marsabit Amb. Ukur Yatani Kanacho. During the meeting he expressed his interest to work with MKU to offer short courses to its health workers. As a way forward, the staff members from MKU agreed to work towards developing a mini curriculum for training on these short-term courses.

The MKU nursing students also had an opportunity visit Marsabit hospital. The hospital is a beneficiary of a donation of medical equipment from Medshare, USA. Medshare sources for medical equipment from manufacturers, surplus equipment from hospitals in the USA and redistributes them to needy hospitals in developing countries.

The MKU staff members consisted of Dr. Samuel Karenga of Research & Development, Dr. Jonathan Mwangi of Medical School and School of Nursing’s Mr. Samuel Mungai.  

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