The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Bilharzia Hits 15 Schools

FIFTEEN schools in Magarini have been hit bilharzia. District Education Officer Stephen Abere said out of 100 schools in the area, 15 schools are highly affected by bilharzia.

He said that the infections have affected the pupils' performance .

"We are going to start de-worming exercise as from Wednesday this week in our primary schools. Out of 100 schools, 15 schools of them have a high number of bilharzia infections," he said.

The DEO further revealed that most students have dropped out of school because of worms.

"You know most of these pupils in our schools are affected by worms. This has been a big challenge in our region and we are now happy that the government is doing something about it. In the past, many children dropped out of the school because their health deteriorated," he said.

Speaking to journalists in Malindi he also noted that most youths in the area are also affected by the bilharzia worms.

"Our youths are also affected by these worms. In fact when police were being recruited here last year most youths were locked out because of this infection. This is a serious issue and that is why we have started to help from down here," he said.

He said that he was optimistic that the government will soon come up with a programme to de-worm secondary school students and youths in the area.

"We are not de-worming secondary school students and youths in general but we are hopeful that the government will come up with the programme soon," he said.

The officer said that they are targeting 60, 000 pupils in private and primary schools within the district.

Bilharzia is a human disease caused by parasitic worms called Schistosomes. Over one billion humans are at risk worldwide and approximately 300 million are infected. It is common in the tropics where ponds, streams and irrigation canals harbor bilharzia-transmitting snails.

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