Donated medicines save young boy with worms

Six-year-old Reason Haamayuwa had been sick for two years, getting increasingly worse, before he went to a World Vision clinic and got medicine to help him heal.

By Collins Kaumba and Kristy J. O’Hara
Published September 11, 2013 at 08:30am PDT

Mercy Maambo worried about her 6-year-old son, Reason Haamayuwa.

He had been sick for two years.

“His condition kept worsening with time,” says Mercy. “We couldn’t know what the exact problem was, but his body, especially the belly, was perpetually swelling.”

She had taken him to the local hospital, and the staff there said Reason had anemia. She brought him three times a week for treatment, but he wasn’t getting better.

“Whatever treatment he received seemed as though it was just worsening the situation,” Mercy says. “My son eventually could not even walk or sit or play with his friends. They tried to treat him for malaria or other diseases which they suspected, but still he was not getting any better.”

A last resort

She was fighting to not give up hope when she heard World Vision had opened a clinic closer to her home in southern Zambia.

“I told myself, ‘I’ll try this clinic,’” Mercy says. “I committed everything in the hands of God, so if things never worked out, as I hoped for, there was nothing more I could do.”

There, Mercy and Reason met a nurse named Eskelly Nsonge, who examined the little boy.

“Reason was looking stunted, malnourished, coughing often, weak and with a swollen body, and [he] lacked appetite,” Eskelly says. “Worse still, he had diarrhea, which could have quickly taken his life away because of dehydration.”

She saw the multitude of symptoms and diagnosed him with worms, which she suspected was causing the ripple effect of all his other health problems. She put him on a deworming program, which included taking tablets daily and coming back to the clinic for observation.


What happened surprised Mercy.

“I was shocked that a few days after Reason had started taking deworming tablets, he started to release chunks of worms coiled together whenever he went to the toilet,” she says. “They were looking pinkish and smaller, but in large numbers.”

Then she started to notice more changes in his health. He began asking for food more often. He could sit and walk, and sometimes he would join other children in playing.

“It was very strange seeing him respond in such a manner,” she says. “I thanked God for this.”

By the time she took him back to the health center for the recommended six-month check-in, the swelling in his hands, legs, and belly had all drastically reduced.

“I couldn’t believe that only one tablet that he was made to chew changed [his health] within six months,” Mercy says.

Huge impact

Eskelly says it was hard to notice that Reason had worms because of his various symptoms, but she’s grateful they were able to diagnose and treat him properly.

She says that the center has reached more than 25,000 children through various programs. World Vision provides the center with vital medications and immunizations — donated by pharmaceutical partners — to help child patients.

“As a result of these health programs that we have been able to conduct efficiently because we have been receiving sufficient drugs from World Vision, we rarely see worst-cases of children suffering from worms,” Eskelly says. “For this I say, ‘Well done, World Vision. You have given life to children, and this will continue to better the children’s tomorrow.’”

Learn more

Read about World Vision’s global work to promote health for children, families, and communities in need — and learn about Beyond 5, World Vision’s advocacy campaign to end the 19,000 preventable deaths of children under age 5 each day.

Read another story from Uganda about how poverty often deprives children of the basic medications and health interventions they need to recover from common, treatable illnesses.

Three ways you can help

Please pray for young children like Reason whose lives are put at risk because of easily treatable illnesses — an ordeal no child should have to face. Pray that clinics in their communities would acquire reliable access to the medicines and supplies needed to care for children who are sick.

Make a one-time donation to help deliver life-saving medicines and supplies. Your gift will help us ship and distribute essential medical items donated by pharmaceutical companies — like emergency food, rehydration salts, antibiotics, antimalarial medications, de-worming medication, vitamin A, and more. In many cases, access to these supplies could mean the difference between life and death for a sick child.

Give monthly to World Vision’s Child and Family Health Fund. Your monthly donation will help bring medical care within reach in places of need by providing life-saving resources like vaccinations, medicines for clinic shelves, care for pregnant mothers and newborns, training for parents and health workers, and more.