Carter Center Slideshow: Schistosomiasis in Kwa'al, Nigeria

  • Anxiously queuing to be measured for treatment, a group of 5- to 14-year-olds listens to a health educator just off the main road that passes through their village of Kwa'al, Nigeria. (All Photos: The Carter Center/ E. Staub | Carter Center Slideshow) (2004)

  • The Carter Center works with ministries of health in two states in Nigeria, Nasarawa and Plateau...

  • reduce the prevalence of schistosomiasis by providing health education and a single annual dose of the drug praziquantel to those communities with the highest rates of infection.

  • Ideally, doses are figured by weight, but scales are not practical in these villages, so communities use a marked stick to figure dosage for each child. Since all the children are so thin, height is a good enough proxy for weight.

  • After Ishaya Hubu, 6, swallows his pill, his name is checked from the community logbook.

  • When asked why he took the treatment, he shyly replies, “I take the pill because my urine has blood.”

  • Certain freshwater snails harbor the parasite that causes schistosomiasis. Children are the most heavily infected members of any community, mainly because they disseminate the infection by urinating in or near fresh water and are the ones most exposed by swimming and playing in contaminated water.

  • Here in Kwa’al, it is not a choice between clean water and schistosomiasis contaminated water—it is a choice between contaminated water and no water. So, within 15 minutes of receiving their treatments, Ishaya and all the other little boys previously standing in line are found up the road splashing and dancing in the very water where they most likely contracted the disease.

  • The Carter Center works with ministries of health in two states in Nigeria, Nasarawa and Plateau.

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