Fluke worms in water sources are cause of intense abdominal pain
“Please help us with our problem with schistosomiasis (parasitic infection). Both adults and children are exposed to the spring water infected by it. Having access to potable water would minimize our risk to the disease because we would not need to go to the spring to get our drinking water anymore.”- Kim, Kindergarten Teacher
Abdominal pain, diarrhea and skin rashes are commonly experienced by the residents of Recare who access water from the natural spring that is contaminated with parasitic larvae of blood fluke worms. These small worms eventually cause intense abdominal pain and can eventually cause liver damage, kidney failure, infertility and bladder cancer. Abdominal fluid builds and cause the stomach to become distended and in children, they may suffer from learning difficulties and poor growth.
A vicious cycle of flooding creates a struggle for residents to improve because they are continually re-building their homes and school. In December 2018, Typhoon Usman destroyed livestock and crops, their main source of income. The majority of homes were leveled. Residents are reeling from the devastation caused by the storm and resulting floods, but they continue to hope for help from the outside.
Generally, there is a lack of water-health and hygiene practices among the population and students at the school are unaware of the severe risks they are taking when drinking water from the spring. Thelma Fabula, school headmaster, shared that her students lack an understanding of proper hygiene, such as tooth brushing, hand washing and use of soap. She hopes that access to clean water and the Planet Water Foundation Water-Health and Hygiene Education programs will kick-start healthier practices in the village. “A major contributor to the health problems here is a lack of knowledge by caregivers. This will soon change.”