May 23, 2019
A part of life with a large group of children and youth, such as those in our Orphan Education Program, is the reality of sickness and disease. Some of the afflictions encountered include: typhoid, chicken pox, malaria, ringworm, brucellosis, amoebiasis, HIV infection, and the common cold.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection usually transmitted through contaminated water, food, or close contact with one infected. Chickenpox is a contagious viral infection. Malaria is a parasite transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Ringworm is a fungal infection. Brucellosis is a bacterial infection obtained from unpasteurized dairy products (here, mainly, milk that has been improperly boiled). Amoebiasis is a parasitical disease transmitted through contaminated water. HIV is viral—just under 5% of our orphans are HIV positive, infected from birth. And, the common cold, well, is the common cold.
In the vast majority of these cases, the children and youth are sent to the clinic for treatment. With those who are HIV positive, they take antivirals that dramatically slow the progress of the disease and prevent secondary infections. Strict adherence to an antiretroviral regimen enables them to lead ‘normal’ lives.
Addressing health concerns becomes a part of life in the Mission. We are fortunate that the nurse/director of St. Elizabeth Clinic at Gekano Parish is Sr. Stella, whose expertise and training assist us greatly in these cases, and she is eager to be of service when we need to consult about the general health of a particular individual.
For me, I have been healthy—I am grateful. Several months ago, though, I had a mild rash on my arms. I was treated at the clinic—given an antihistamine injection, antihistamine tablets, and hydrocortisone cream (the consultation and medication cost $3.00).
As I come to the end of this posting, I write that I will be leaving Kenya for a home visit in the month of June. Therefore, I will not be posting anything until July. During my home visit, I plan to spend time with my family, to rest, and to do work on long-range planning for the Mission with the Director of the Mission and others. After the home visit, I will return to Kenya and continue serving in the Mission…and be resuming the weekly blog.