In June 2013, UKHF received a worrying report from Tom about the children’s health. He had noticed a rise in the incidents of ‘Jiggers’ especially in the Nursery classes. “We have had a few cases which we have managed to contain. We are not sure whether we can handle a full-blown epidemic. “The Chigoe flea commonly known as Jiggers burrow into exposed skin on the feet of mammals and remain there for two weeks while developing eggs, during which time they swell dramatically, sometimes causing intense irritation (condition called tungiasis). After this point, the skin lesion looks like a 5- to 10-mm blister with a central black dot, which are the flea’s exposed hind legs, respiratory spiracles and reproductive organs. If the flea is left within the skin, dangerous complications can occur including secondary infections, loss of nails, and toe deformation. These are relatively rare, but heavy infestations combined with unsanitary conditions greatly increases the likelihood of complications”.
Tom pointed out that
….”Healing Children School is a collection centre of the deprived in our society. This environment at school determines almost every way of life at the children’s home. Moreover, there is much more concentration of children inside the classroom than at any child’s home. Actually, schools are the main carriers of jiggers in our community than any other forms put together.”
After some discussion it became clear that the solution was concrete floors. As the months progressed the situation seemed to get worse and worse so UKHF mounted an urgent appeal to raise funds for new floors.
We invited friends and supporters to ‘sponsor a floor’ and miraculously within 3 months new floors were laid in all the classrooms and jiggers has been eliminated. Some Sponsors for classroom floors have plaques commemorating their donations fixed to the classroom wall.