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Don't kick out learners with jiggers, schools told

Education
 Head, Department of Public Health in the Ministry of Health Susan Mutua with AhadiTrust CEO Stanley Kamau at Kisa North ward in Kakamega County on March 3, 2023, to mark the National Jigger Awareness Day. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

School heads who have been sending away learners from classes because they are infested with jiggers have been put on notice.

Speaking yesterday at Khwisero Constituency during the International Jiggers Day, Chief Executive of Ahadi Kenya Stanley Kamau said jiggers infestation was a health condition like any other where victims especially school-going children should be assisted.

"We have received reports that some teachers have been sending away students affected by jiggers; we are sending a warning to such teachers to desist from that," said Kamau.

"Rather than send them away, the schools should introduce hygiene clubs in schools to create awareness among affected learners."

Kamau said the prevalence of jigger infestation has increased by 15 per cent in the country due to prolonged drought, stating that the Western region has the highest jigger infestation followed by the Coastal, Central, and Nyanza.

"In the western region, Busia county has high jigger infestation especially in Teso south and north constituencies, followed by Kakamega, Vihiga, and Bungoma. This is due to high poverty levels which we have to fight and eliminate because it leads to poor sanitation," stated Kamau.

Kakamega County Education Director Dickson Ogonya said the jiggers infestation has affected learning in the county where a lot of learners have dropped out of school.

Ogonya also gave a stern warning to school heads who have sent children away due to disease.

"We have received reports of some schools that have chased away learners infested with jiggers, we have the report and we will be going for them because it is wrong and against our law," said Ogonya without stating how many were send away.

Kakamega County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr Bernard Wesonga said Khwisero, Mumias East, Mumias West, Butere, and Matungu are the most affected constituencies with jiggers infestation.

On her part, Susan Mutua, Head of Public Health at the Ministry of Health said the national government is offering technical support and policy formulation to eradicate the disease, especially in schools and rural areas.

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