Deworming Burundi: Children receive meds for improved health

Sinzumusi Renilde and her son, Janvier

Learning proper hand washing to prevent illness

In the blog, Evaluating the Best Ways to Give to the Poor by Bruce Wydick, deworming is said to be the second most effective way to help impoverished people. Wydick rates clean water as the first. Contaminated water is often responsible for parasite infections in humans, followed by walking barefoot.

With one in three people in the world afflicted by intestinal parasites—it makes sense that getting rid of worms helps impoverished people receive more nutrients from their scarce food.

This is why the Republic of Burundi decided to do a national campaign to deworm all of the children living within the country. Working exclusively with Food for the Hungry, the campaign combines deworming medicine and health education to keep Burundi children and their parents healthy.

During the November 2011 campaign, FH supplied more than 8.3 million tablets to be distributed all around Burundi.

“Before this program, I was always at the clinic, because my children were sick all the time. I could not understand what was going on. The children had frequent diarrhea without recovering,” said Sinzumusi Renilde , a 30-year-old mother of four.

With other mothers, Sinzumsi received hygiene training as her children received deworming medicine. “I never miss the sessions. I have benefited much from them. These days my children don’t fall sick very often. Their hygiene has improved, and they are healthy.”

Not too long ago, her little boy, Janvier, was very ill from worm-related complications—a usual occurrence among children his age in Burundi.

His health was so bad he had to be admitted to hospital on several occasions. Janvier is a classic example of the devastating effects of worms if left unattended.

“He used to be very sick because of worms. Despite the many hospital visits, I was about to give up, but then I started learning about hygiene and hand washing,” said Sinzumsi. “Janvier started to improve. He was almost a dead child, but you can see now he is fine.”