Jiggers Eradication Program

            The jigger is a sand flea which has become endemic in some regions of Kenya. The main cause is a lack of hygiene and shoes in a dirt-based environment. The jigger embeds itself in the skin, especially under toenails and fingernails, but can infect any area of the body. It causes lesions which are extremely itchy and can become inflamed and infected. These infections often lead to the following  secondary infections: gangrene, sepsis, loss of toenails, auto-amputation of toes or fingers. Tetanus, which is fatal, is also a common secondary infection. Jiggers can lead to devastating effects, including difficulty walking, inability to work or carry out daily chores, and transmissible infections such as HIV/AIDS.

To complicate the situation there is a very strong social stigma as people are hesitant to seek treatment. We have seen parents send their children for treatment while they remained home out of shame.

CNFA piloted a jiggers eradication program in 2012. We were shocked by the devastation caused by this parasite. While we have treated a total of 5,725 people, including children, since the programs conception, it only represents a small proportion of those still in need of treatment today. Our trusted community worker in Kenya, Johnstone, who is partnered with us to help expand the program continues to run the program all year long. In addition, homes have been treated and education is provided for prevention of recurring infections.

Thirty six schools have been inspected, treated and teachers educated to foster preventative measures. Thanks to our wonderful community worker, this program continues to work toward the goal of eliminating jiggers in this area of Kenya.

Wheelchairs & Crutches

Since 2012, CNFA has delivered wheelchairs and crutches to people in need. In Canada, we work with the Association of Physically Disabled of Kenya to provide appropriate assistive devices to persons, for example, who may have suffered an injury, stroke, loss of mobility, or paralysis. As well, we also see those who have suffered neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy. We are working together to manufacture the devices in Kenya using Kenyan labour. The devices are heavy duty and designed to withstand the rough terrain on which they will be used.

Sexual Health Education

Sexual Health Education is an essential component of our mission work. With each clinic we run, groups of women gather with a sexual health nurse to discuss STI prevention and healthy relationships. Sexual health education is also provided in schools for middle school boys and girls. With each discussion, reusable sanitary pads, which are made in Canada, are distributed to the girls. Male and female condoms are offered to men and women in groups at each clinic.

Reusable Sanitary Pad Project

What is the most reliable and proven way to help girls stay in school in developing countries? Provide them with sanitary pads!

Each year in Kenya we provide reusable sanitary pad kits to approximately 600 school girls. The majority of the kits are sewn by women in Saskatchewan, and some made in Ontario. Marnie Bernard facilitates this programme in several communities throughout Saskatchewan. Within each colourful cloth carry bag is a main holder pad and six liner pads, as well as a sealable plastic bag for used pads. Girls are also given panties that have been sewn and generously donated.

To Susan in Weyburn, SK who made samples until the perfect, practical, comfortable pad pattern was developed – Thank you for your ongoing gift!

Marnie Bernard is an incredible supporter of CNFA. Since 2011 Marnie has spearheaded the reusable pad program and the creation of teddy bears for the children of Kenya. The sewing and knitting is done by groups of women in the surrounding areas of her home, near Weyburn, SK. as well as in Esterhazy, Radville and Regina. These dedicated women make bears year-round but get together once a year at a Teddy Bear Picnic – Each woman brings their adorable creations along with all pad kits and meet with
each other to share stories and learn more about CNFA.

“Presenting a CNFA slide show during the Teddy Bear Picnic is so great. We love seeing the miraculous work CNFA does on the other side of the world. It is wonderful to see the children and girls holding the products we have made for them!’ Several of the seamstresses and knitters have mentioned that they think often of the Kenyans while they are sewing. As I do!” – a note from Marnie

It takes a lot to make this happen! Marnie and CNFA thank the following:

1. Vitran Express who generously transport all 400 lbs of these treasures to Ontario from Saskatchewan every year For FREE! Especially Kelly G., manager of Vitran, Regina.

2. The Weyburn Review who publicizes and reports our events each year.

3. Marnie’s special helpers Gail H and Bonnie T., who keep the sewing and knitting group sailing along with all their behind-the-scenes work- cutting, sewing, bundling pad sets, baking and serving at the Teddy Bear Picnic.

4. Giant Tiger, Weyburn, SK and Superstore, Regina, SK who kindly donate panties.

Covid-19 Food Distribution Program – click here

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Bill & Judy Robertson

    Gail: You presentation today ( May 24,2014) @ St Luke’s Church Burlington was very powerful. I think there will be some fundraising from our group.

    Bill & Judy Robertson

  2. Chris Morgan

    I am one of the board members of Arts to End Genocide, located in New Bern, NC, USA. We are planning on making a trip to Mozambique to deliver hand stitched shoes from our school children to the children in/around Maputo to prevent jigger infection. If there are materials we could distribute for prevention and treatment of jiggers in that area, I would be very appreciative. Perhaps we can work together in some other capacity as well. Thank you!

  3. michael A. N. Ongwae

    The community in which I work they are affected with jiggers infestation. is there we can assit by may be funding an elimination project.

  4. Dr, Ongwae Peter

    jiggers eradication is noble as it restores dignity and confidence to affected. Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya has identified a needy area, on 19th September 2015 we are holding a jigger campaign at Nangeni Primary School Western kenya. We are looking forward to doing a good job.

  5. J Taylor

    I’ve watched a lot of jigger removal videos and can say without a doubt that The Rise up society has by far the most pain free removal techniques I’ve seen so far. Why hasn’t our Canadian nurses offered to help Jim Nduruchi in his fight against the jiggers.He also needs help in his efforts to build a home for the aged so the families can’t just put them out to die. (which still happens). Or are left alone for the jiggers to eat them alive. He has more projects planned also for helping jigger victims and their families. Please let me know if aiding him in his fight is a possibility.

  6. ss

    Thank you a lot for sharing this with all of
    us you actually know what you are talking about!
    Bookmarked. Please also talk over with my site =).
    We can have a link alternate arrangement among us

  7. peter

    in quire if u support a group through the church in community health in Kenya doing jigger eradication campaign

  8. beth Demizio

    Hi, I am a new sewer in Hamilton Ontario, and have a work/university mate, Lynn Wright that goes to Africa each year, could you send me your patterns, and I could sew some pads, teddy bears, here in Ontario??

  9. Ben

    Hi hope your fine. Am glad that you supported jigger infested clients. I work for Sole Hope and we address the same in Uganda. We have reached over 20000 clients and removed over 100,000 jiggers. We would be glad to share knowledge and experience with you.

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