Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Kageno: A Place of Hope


During the first week of July, our group of nine volunteers with Operation Crossroads Africa (www.operationcrossroadsafrica.org) was given the opportunity to head to Rusinga island from Mfangano and take a short break from the mobile medical clinic work that we had been doing between islands in Lake Victoria.

Operation Crossroads sends out volunteers annually for two months to countries throughout Africa to work on various programs from constructing orphanages or schools to teaching projects to working in medical clinics. Our project was based on Mfangano, one of the largest islands in Lake Victoria, with the aim being daily mobile medical clinics on the various islands in the lake. We welcomed the opportunity to come to Rusinga for the week to meet the children and do what we could to help out medically in the area.

The unsanitary living conditions near the lake promote the rapid spread of worms and schistosomiasis. This adversely affects children who are already malnourished, and are trying to focus in school, leading to poor performance. Following WHO guidelines for a deworming project, we decided that the efforts for the week should be tailored towards improving the health of the children in the Kageno area in this manner. Every child over 2 years old was given a dose of Mebendazole to help irradicate worms in their system, as well as a basic checkup. Many of the children in the area still required immunizations and vaccinations, so after contacting the Minister of Health in the area, the site was supplied with oral polio vaccines, measles vaccines, and pentavalent vaccines, in order to officially start a health record on the children in the area.

Difficulties arose as most children in the area are orphans, so if any prior health record existed, they were often unable to locate it. The team from Crossroads saw about 40 children per day for vaccinations and checkups, and saw many from the community with other health problems as well. We were all really impressed with the Kageno site and the efforts of those involved with the project. It is a difficult task to take care of the 186 orphans and provide daily education, but with the construction of two new classrooms, a library, latrine and playground all under way, the development on site shows great growth. We greatly appreciate the offer from Frank to spend some time at the site and thank Alphonce, Zack, Rachel and the rest for their hospitality as well! We wish them all continued success on the project.

(please see link at the right for more information on Kageno)

----John Kurap

No comments: