Thursday, July 5, 2018

KISII REPORT #7

I have mentioned before the highland malaria of Kisii. Historically, this was an area of Kenya that was free from the illness. But with the increased travel between the eastern coastlines and the western highlands in the beginning of the 20th century, the mosquito-borne parasite made its way to the area.

For many years, malaria was treated in Kenya by Chloroquine, which reduced significantly the spread of the disease. However, the parasite that causes the disease eventually developed a resistance to this medication. Largely because of this resistance, there was a re-emergence of malaria in the 1980’s.

Unfortunately, this emergence came about the same time that other health epidemics arose in Africa, epidemics such as HIV-AIDS, Zika and Ebola. This has all put a large strain on the already fragile health care system of Africa, which has reportedly been decreasing in quality in the past 25 years.

I asked Pastor Joel what drugs are now used by doctors to cure the malaria, and he sent me an extensive list of different ones that they try: Artemether/Lumefantrine, Coartem, Malarone, Plaquenil, Doxycycline, Mefloquine…25 in all. Nothing works great, but they at least give the doctors a choice of options to try, that is, if the drugs are available.

There are also several drugs that can be taken as prophylactics, or prevention medications, but they do not actually prevent malaria from beginning in the body. Once the person has been infected, in the initial stage of malaria, it first affects the liver. It is from the liver that it eventually spreads to the blood stream. At least this is my understanding.

The parasite reaches the liver through the blood by an infected mosquito bite, but then goes through part of its development in the liver. It is only when it reaches the “erythrocytic stage,” or the blood stage, were these “prevention drugs” have any effect at all.

Malaria cases have been very high in Kisii this year in particular because of the historically heavy rains. Beyond the human suffering, and speaking on merely a pragmatic level, it has been a huge drain on the funding for the orphans. In addition to the challenges caused by the prices for many vegetables doubling their former levels, and the other problems brought on by the rain, Pastor Joel and the church leadership have had to spend a lot of money on malaria prevention and treatment for the orphans.

Hospital stays have been the most costly, but they have also bought some prevention drugs and mosquito nets to help protect the orphans while they sleep. I have never visited the hospital where they bring the sick orphans, but they have sent me so many photos that I almost feel like I have been there.

Interestingly enough, another prevention against malaria has simply been buying clothing for the children who had none.

The new dormitory of the orphans would also be an important prevention for this problem (along with other problems), and that is why I am praying that we can get it built before next rain season. I appreciate your prayers also in this.

We pray that our God in heaven will bless His children with this gift.

I have spoken before of the great needs at the orphanage. They are not unique needs, I know. Many in the world live in similar situations. But for reasons that I do not know, these are the children that the Lord has given to me. Perhaps there are others who will join with me in this task in helping these children.

When I look at this situation with a realistic eye, it seems undoable. I have mentioned on several occasions that this task is so great that it is actually beyond any resources that I can image. It will take even the lunch of a boy to meet these needs.

By this I mean at the feeding of the 5000, the need to feed the people was so great that the disciples could see no way possible. But there was a boy there, a young lad, with a humble lunch of five small loaves of bread and two fish. These he gave to Jesus. Jesus blessed the food and began giving it to the disciples to distribute to the people sitting on the ground. All ate until all were satisfied.

This is what we need. We need the blessing of Jesus on this work.

We also need to pray that the children be protected from additional peripheral problems, like malaria and other illnesses. If you do not mind the graphic illustration, but these illnesses drain the resources from the children like diarrhea drains the energy from their small bodies.

We pray to Jesus for his blessing and protection.

 

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