Kenise Klah Keino’s story
Schistosomiasis is a type of parasitic worm infection that is carried by freshwater snails and is estimated to affect over 200 million people worldwide. It’s transmitted through contact with contaminated water during daily activities like bathing and fishing. Schistosomiasis can result in impaired child development, reduced productivity and internal organ damage.
Kenise Klah Keino is a head teacher in Botinde district in Cote d’Ivoire where, with funding from the UK government, the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) has helped to deliver treatments against schistosomiasis since 2014. Kenise explains that due to the country’s tropical climate and water sources not being maintained, diseases like schistosomiasis are commonplace.
But treatment is safe and cost-effective. Kenise attends training sessions led by the SCI and passes this knowledge onto his fellow teachers so that they can facilitate mass drug administrations in his school. He explains that before the treatment programme reached them, he regularly saw absenteeism due to the anaemia and tiredness caused by schistosomiasis. However, since the start of the programme there have been no reported cases of the disease amongst his pupils.
Thanks to the programme now in place, Kenise can effectively prepare his teachers to administer treatments to their pupils, ensuring they never miss a day of school because of this debilitating disease. He says:
“My mission is to see schistosomiasis eliminated from Cote d’Ivoire. Because if it’s not, the disease will remain a threat to children who are the future of the country.
To the people who help us treat our children for schistosomiasis in our country, I really thank them with all my heart. Because of them, our children in the most remote parts of Cote d’Ivoire are healthy. May they continue to support us, as the fight is not yet over.
I think one day, we can say that schistosomiasis will be eliminated, thanks to their continued support combined with our efforts in the field.”
Thanks to the funding by the UK government, the SCI has achieved national coverage in Cote d’Ivoire and is targeting all school-age children at risk of infection. Just £1 can help to deliver up to 3 people, and with continued support, we can continue to work towards elimination.