Fighting Jiggers with JW Seagon

To make sure we direct our resources to where they will have the greatest impact, Ol Pejeta are in constant contact with community representatives, who work with us to address the most pressing challenges in our neighbouring communities. That is why we recently partnered with JW Seagon - one of our corporate partners - and the Laikipia Medical Services Health Promotion Office to help tackle a recent outbreak of jiggers in the villages along Ol Pejeta’s northern boundary.

What are jiggers?

Jiggers are tiny sand fleas found in hot, dry, sub-Saharan climates. They may be small, but the damage caused by these skin-burrowing insects can have serious impacts on the livelihoods of rural people. According to the Kill the Jigger Campaign, it is estimated that over 1.4 million people are affected by jiggers in Kenya alone.

Jiggers typically bury into the feet or hands of a host, and lay multiple eggs which destroys soft tissue. In areas where access to water is difficult and hygiene is poor, this often results in open wounds that become infected. Infections can cause lymphangitis, gangrene, sepsis, and can even lead to amputation. Children and the elderly are often the most highly affected - with children having to drop out of school due to the pain and immobility.

What can you do about them?

Phase 1 of our approach was to ensure affected people were given medical attention. On the 7th June a team made of JW Seagon staff, Ol Pejeta staff, and community health volunteers tended to 136 children and 10 adults at Powys Dispensary. Affected areas (usually hands and feet) were washed with soap, soaked in a hydrogen peroxide mixture for 15 minutes (this suffocates the jiggers and brings them to the surface without breaking the skin), and covered in a coat of petroleum jelly.

Phase 2 will involve fumigation of affected households, and bi-weekly follow ups with families to encourage good hygiene practices.

We are very grateful to the JW Seagon for the massive support they have given to this campaign.