Roundworm: teaching kids to be afraid to play
About 60,000 people die from Roundworm a year, most of them children.
An estimated 1.2 billion people also suffer from Roundworm infections globally. 1.2 billion people – that’s 34 times the population of Canada. That means there are 34X the number of all Canadians affected by this disease. The scariest thing about this disease is that it is very difficult to prevent if you live in an endemic area, such as in warm tropical regions. People have to worry about the food they eat, the water they drink, and even when they go outside to work or play because of inadequate sanitation in their environment.
Roundworm is caused by a nematode Ascaris, and it is transmitted through its eggs in contaminated soil. In some countries, fecal waste often contaminates soil because of lack of hygienic practices, or it is used as fertilizer. When the food is grown in soil where fecal waste may contain these eggs, it makes it easy for people to be infected with Roundworm.
When children in these poor countries want to play the only place they can is in their yards or in the street. These areas are muddy, and makes for a fun time for the boys and girls, but lurking in the mud are the roundworm eggs. They are infected when they touch their fingers to their mouths or eat with their hands before they are cleaned properly, as kids often do. The eggs hatch in their little belly’s and grow into treacherous roundworms which leach nutrition from their body. These children can begin to experience fatigue, weight loss, and abdominal pain. With severe infections, their learning capabilities are impaired and they lose the ability to grow healthily.
The great news is that Roundworm can be treated effectively with medicine. At effect:hope, we are working with partners to protect children under five in Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire. These two countries are endemic for worm infections, and 2 out of 3 children are in need of treatment. Young children are especially vulnerable to these types of infections. We will administer de-worming treatments to these children in desperate need. Combined with Vitamin A supplements to help combat malnutrition, we will ensure that every child thrives with your support.