Jiggers [David’s 3rd Blog from East Africa]

26 Feb

Jiggers [David’s 3rd Blog from East Africa]

A little girl whom we met today at a rural Kenyan School

This morning we spent some time witnessing the war against jiggers, a scourge of poor Africans.

Jiggers are the world’s smallest flea, and they live in the dusty African soil. Breeding female jiggers love to burrow into the bottoms of people’s feet while developing their eggs, during which time they feed from their host’s bloodstream and swell dramatically, sometimes causing a lot of irritation. When you don’t have shoes, like most children in rural Kenya, and when the dirt floors of your house and school are jigger infested, your chance of becoming a jigger host is high.

Patti Samuels, who directs our Critical Medical Needs Fund, as well as myself and HF staff member Dan Steward, observed a jigger eradication at a rural primary school this morning. 80 of the most-infested children were chosen for jigger removal, performed by a man who was very skilled in the use of a scalpel. Burrowed jiggers apparently numb the surrounding flesh, because the children were given no anesthetic, and few of them shed tears as jiggers were surgically dug from the bottoms of their feet.

If you are squeamish, you might not want to view my photos below, as they show the reality of jigger infestation in children’s feet and the removal of dead and living jiggers. Heaven’s Family has funded jigger eradication projects in the past, and Patti and I observed this morning in order to evaluate the ministry doing today’s eradication which is seeking our funding.


Some of the jigger-infested boys waiting for minor foot surgery

Calloused skin is first cut away with the scalpel to expose the burrowed jiggers

This photo shows one of the cavities left behind when a jigger is removed

Some of the children had multiple jigger infestations in the arches of their feet

While children were having jiggers removed from their feet, HF staff member Dan Steward spent some time applying a spray solution that kills jiggers living in the dirt floor of a school classroom

Some more cute kids at the school today


2 Recent Comments

  • Judith Butchko

    God bless you , I give to a friend of mine who has an organization that does this and gets them clothes shoes beds ect .. you are amazing Im praying more and more people wake up and help these poor people .

  • Sonia

    Bless you for all that you do for these people. I have only just learned about jiggers and cannot stop trying to think of a way to get myself to Africa. I need to do more than sit on the sidelines and watch.

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