Donated medication helps child fight worm infestation

Ezera, 4, was suffering from intestinal worms. But like too many children growing up in poverty, he didn’t have access to the basic medication he needed to recover from his treatable condition. World Vision’s deliveries of donated medicine help to change that.

Story and photos by Simon Peter Esaku, World Vision Uganda.
Published July 10, 2012 at 12:00am PDT

Sitting outside their grass and mud hut, Ezera Odoi grits his teeth and rubs his swollen stomach with his right hand. It is evident there is something wrong with the stomach of this 4-year-old boy.

“I feel something biting my stomach,” says Ezera, who lives in eastern Uganda.

The boy’s father explains that Ezera first felt the pain last year, and in the time since, he’s been taken to the health center on multiple occasions.

John Oketcho, a health worker who treated Ezera, recalls his course of action. “I suspected Ezera has worms,” he says. “The last time, I gave him three albendazole tablets to take, one a day for three days. I also gave him tablets of folic acid to take, one per day for 14 days.”

A life-saving delivery

The albendazole tablets, used especially for the treatment of worm infestations, were part of a collection of donated drugs delivered by World Vision. Three government health centers in the area benefited from the distribution.

World Vision partners with pharmaceutical companies and other corporations, which donate top-quality medicines and supplies that our staff members can ship and distribute to areas where poverty often renders these items unaffordable or inaccessable — like Ezera’s village in Uganda.

Health workers in the region confirm that the drugs have made a positive impact on the health of people living in several of World Vision’s program areas.

“In fact, there were many people suffering from worms,” says Oketcho. “But when World Vision gave the de-worming tablets and we started de-worming children and adults, we now get fewer cases.”

Poverty’s crushing toll on sick children

John Oketcho, a worker at the local health center, issues a prescription of de-worming tablets and folic acid for Ezera.With the government providing drugs to its health facilities only once every three months, the distributions of donated medications by World Vision contributes to better health for the rural families in poverty who must survive solely on subsistence farming.

“The government supply of drugs does not even last a month,” Oketch admits. “When the drugs are finished, we write prescriptions and advise patients to go and buy the drugs from pharmacies.”

Of course, very few families can possibly afford to do this.

Ezera’s hope

Oketcho says Ezera may be getting new worm infection. He adds that there are different kinds of worms that can infect children — flatworms, roundworms, and tapeworms, to name a few. Infection can result from poor hygiene, including unsanitary toilet use and using contaminated water.

“I advise Ezera to go for a lab test…for a correct diagnosis,” says Oketcho.

There is hope for Ezera. With deworming drugs now available, Ezera will recover once he gets the correct diagnosis.

Learn more

Check out this photo blog of children around the world who are benefiting from World Vision’s shipment and distribution of donated medicines and supplies.

Two ways you can help

Please pray for children like Ezera whose lives are put at risk because they live in poverty and don’t even have access to basic medicines and supplies that can help them heal.

Make a one-time donation today to help ship and distribute life-saving medicines and supplies to communities in need. Your gift multiplies 12 times in impact to help provide donated phamaceuticals, supplies, and over-the-counter medications to places where children and families are suffering.