Upenyu has treated about 5,000 school-children in rural Zimbabwe for parasitic worm diseases, such as schistosomiasis. These diseases cause severe morbidity in children, including bleeding, stunted growth, impaired cognitive development, and poor school performance. It is our hope that, by providing treatment, children become happy and productive members of society.
Parasitic diseases are endemic in much of Zimbabwe. Recent studies conducted by the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health indicate that prevalence of these diseases is 38% (and even higher in some communities) in the area where Upenyu works. We work to treat theses diseases among school-aged children, who are most severely affected. These diseases cause severe morbidity and symptoms range from internal bleeding to cognitive impairment. Studies have shown that school performance is also lower.
We provide treatment for children afflicted with parasitic diseases. This not only improves their health, but also helps them perform better in school. We test the children every six months to make sure they aren't reinfected. To measure our progress, we assess the height and weight of the children.
In the long term, Upenyu seeks to improve access to medical treatment for parasitic diseases. This will help children become productive members of society, thereby breaking the cycle of poverty. We also aim to increase the scope of our program to reach a wider group of people. Our hope is that the success of our program will spur the Zimbabwe government to establish national treatment guidelines and provide access to treatment for all Zimbabweans.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).