FH to eradicate intestinal worms in Burundi

By July 10, 2009

Burundi (MNN) — Intestinal worms rob hungry children of precious nutrition. Simply by drinking or stepping in contaminated water, a child can become infected, growing sicker and weaker with each week that goes by. Malnutrition and even death can result. On average, it costs about a nickel to cure one child.

Food for the Hungry is taking action, says Andrew Crawford. "We are delighted to have been invited by the Burundi government to attend a national health initiative and support their efforts to rid their country of intestinal parasites."

Globally, one in three individuals suffer from this plague, says Crawford. "That really is contributing to what we call a 'shape of hunger' which is a child with a distended belly. And we look at two causes for that — a lack of protein and also many, many hundreds and perhaps thousands of worms which are consuming up to 25-percent of the value of food that a child takes in.

Crawford says donors have enabled them to accomplish a lot. "This year we supported the effort with 7.8 million treatments of deworming medicine, and that's going to compliment the vitamin A, the malaria nets, and the measles vaccinations that are already being donated by other organizations."

FH is working through the National Coordinator for Burundi's Neglected Tropical Diseases Control Project, Dr. Ndayishimiye Onesime. At the end of their meeting, Crawford says they asked what role faith plays in this. "He said that really the answer to our country's issues, be they health or economic, are found in Jesus. So right from the very halls of government and our Food for the Hungry staff, Christ has an integral role to play."

The Gospel is part of everything their team is doing in Burudi, says Crawford. "They don't compromise on that. It's a holistic message. We believe you cannot address health issues without talking about the eternity of a human being and what is really at stake."

Because of the lack of communications infrastructure in Burundi, Crawford says, "It's estimated that about 90 to 95 percent of the people will be reached through the church. We can pray that as people are served with medicines and hear the Gospel, they'll be drawn closer to Christ because of their proximity to people of faith."

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