One of the biggest threats to children in Uganda is also something very tiny: intestinal parasites.
Children who have intestinal parasites experience chronic vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, stomach pains and more. And in the long-term, the effects are even worse: stunted growth, wasting, severe malnutrition and even death.
That’s why this spring, Holt donors gave to a new and very important cause: treating children for parasites. The solution is so simple, a tiny deworming tablet taken twice per year. But due to lack of awareness and lack of access to the medication, so many children needlessly suffer.
So last spring, Holt Uganda held a Child Health Day for the community. And over 14,900 children came.
Parents traveled long distances to bring their children to the health day. Some children were visibly malnourished, or stunted in their growth. Others were sick and complained of stomach pains.
Two of the children who needed help were sisters Nafuna and Kissa.
“They used to be sickly most of the time,” says Nafuna and Kissa’s mom. “They had abdominal pains and would hear the sound in their stomach. They would eat and never get satisfied. I didn’t know it was worms until we were educated about worms during a deworming exercise. My children were screened and found malnourished.”
So Kissa and Nafuna, along with thousands of other children, received a deworming tablet. Children under 5 also received a vitamin A supplement.
After receiving the medication, children went home with their families. The worms passed through their systems within a few days, and they instantly began to feel better! Now that they’re parasite-free, these children can absorb all the critical nutrients they need from their food. They don’t get sick every time they eat, and they’re growing and developing as they should.
So many children who were once thought to just be too skinny or sickly are now healthy and growing by leaps and bounds!
Holt Uganda staff continue to regularly check up on Nafuna and Kissa, and they provided nutrition training to their mom so she could help them regain their strength.
“I was trained on how to feed them and also given nutritive flour to prepare porridge for them,” she says. “Their health has since greatly improved. They are no longer sickly as they used to be. They eat well and play with fellow children. I just thank God for Holt.”
When Nafuna and Kissa’s mom thanks God for Holt, she is also thanking God for you — the generous Holt donors who made it possible for her daughters to receive the deworming tablets. Parents of the other 14,898 children helped would say the same thing.
Because of unclean water in many developing countries, like Uganda, children need to receive a deworming tablet two times per year in order to stay healthy. Holt Uganda is making plans for their next Child Health Day in the coming months. Together with Holt donors, they will continue this great work to treat and care for as many children as possible.