International (MNN) — Worldwide, one-third of the population lives with intestinal parasites. That is approximately 2 billion people.
Food for the Hungry wants to do all they can to get those numbers down. Overseas suppliers have made available to them single-dose treatments in the form of a pill. That dose must be taken every six months to purge the body of the parasite and "get them sort of back on track," explained FFH's Andrew Crawford.
Their initiative right now will provide one-million pills to Bolivia. The problem is prevalent in Asia, Europe in Africa, but "we're just thrilled with the opportunity to be
able to make a difference," said Crawford. De-worming medicine has already sent to children in Peru, Kenya, and the Philippines.
Parasites drain a surprising amount of nourishment from the host's body. "It could be up to a quarter of your nutritional intake. And we know that in areas where a lot of children,
specifically, don't get much food to begin with, you can see that 25 percent of that is a huge amount. Of course, that results in cognitive and developmental issues," Crawford said.
Offering de-worming treatment opens doors for people to hear the Gospel. "What really serves as our conduits to get the Gospel out are the people who engage in the process of
treating others. Not only are there adults who walk door to door to hand out medicines to people in their villages, but there are also children who go into schools who are child
representatives who portray the health issue and then come back to the issue of heart cleanliness," said Crawford. He said while health is the current focus, they are concerned with eternal well-being.
Crawford explained that not only is treatment simple and a means of sharing Christ's love, but "the engagement on our side is minimal in terms of its cost to us. We can see that just for the price of going out on a date with your wife, you can treat a thousand children." For $20, 400 children can be treated with de-worming medicine and 1,000 for $50. It costs just 5 cents per treatment to ship.