Mark Snyder FInding Health Competition
Project from Finding Health Completion winner 2021
The world is full of challenges and problems, and we are called as sons and daughters of God to be a part of restoring the broken. But, what if we stop assuming that God forgot to provide the answers and resources needed and started actively looking for the provisions and innovations that God has already placed in these communities? This is the heart of this competition.
Mark Snyder FInding Health Competition
Maboko Bahati Fidele
Maboko Bahati Fidele (DR Congo) - Palm Oil To Prevent Jiggers - Jiggers to don't show up on the WHO NTD lists, but they are painful and shame inducing parasite the impacts many in poverty in many African nations as well as their original source, South America. Pastor Fidele works primarily with orphans, street kids, and refugees. Thus, this parasite is a common plague for this precious to him. Thus, he has been seeking remedies to reduce and eliminate Jiggers. He discovered two neighboring communities in DR Congo, Pinga and Walikale. The two communities have no Jiggers and have not had any for many years. However, a similar community, Kalembe, is only 30 Km away and is ravaged by this disease.He looked for the explanation for this. Pinga and Waikale had similar characteristics, economics, and geography. The only major difference between these communities and Kalembe was the practice of regularly applying palm oil to their skin. Traditionally, Eucalyptus leaves were boiled and added to the palm oil, but Pastor Fidele is working with the SMM medical team to determine if it is the palm oil itself or the oil working in combination with the Eucalyptus leaves that is causing the effects. Initial efforts seem to indicate the oil helps create a barrier that parasites find unpleasant, but further work is being done on this discovery.
Fredrick Mutabi (Kenya) - Adding Red Pepper Tree Ash To Flooring To Decrease Jiggers - Jiggers is a huge problem in certain regions of Kenya. They can even tell if someone grew up with Jiggers by the way they walk since they often walk on the outsides of their feet after spending years avoiding the pain of the skin ulcers and infections caused by this flea. Yet, Frederick observed very low rates of this parasite in certain communities in Laikipia, Kenya. Just like Mutebi Henry, he observed there was a unique way the people in these regions were making their floors. They mixed ash from red pepper tree Schinus molle in with the clay soils and dried cow dung to make their flooring. Those that added the red pepper tree ash reported no cases of Jiggers while those not using the ash reported some limited cases of Jiggers. Most chemical properties of wood degrade when burned to ask, so Frederick is working with the SMM team to determine if the ash is just making for a better building material that produces less dust or if there is a chemical residue from the red pepper tree that is being infused into the floor that is causing the impact.
Alain Muissa (DR Congo) pictured below - Using Vernonia Amygdalina to Treat Intestinal Parasites - Vernonia Amygdalina, commonly known as "Bitter Leaf", is a plant that grows natively in many of the tropical climates of various African nations. It is commonly used in many traditional medical applications in DR Congo, and it is claimed to have benefits of removing intestinal parasites. While there are many case examples of the successful use of this plant, Alain and his team are conducting true medical experiments to determine the effectiveness of the plant as well as proper dosage.
Emmanuel Hategeka (Rwanda) pictured below - Locally Made Water Tanks - The landscapes of many African communities are dotted with large plastic water tanks. These tanks are beneficial for storing water from seasonal rainfall and helping with the irregular flow of piped-in water. But, these tanks cost between $300-$1,000 or more, which makes them a luxury item that most communities' members cannot afford. However, Emmanuel borrowed a very old but proven technology to provide water solutions for everyone. His "Grace Tanks" are constructed by digging a pit large enough to hold at least 500 liters of water and then lining the inside with clay to prevent water from leaking out. A top is made from clay, sticks and plant fibers to prevent debris or animals from falling in. The tanks are filled using a cheap extension to gather the water off the roof when it rains. The top can be removed for repairs and cleaning. Finally, the water is put through a simple filter for human consumption. These Grace Tanks are particularly valuable in places where there is no easy access to water sources.
Clement Kabogere (Uganda) - Pumpkin Seed Tea To Eliminate Ascariasis - There was only one winner this year, but the discovery may be the most significant one discovered so far. Clement and former two-time winner, Mutebi Henry, began this journey looking for cheaper medication alternatives for their pigs, who were suffering from intestinal parasites. Their research led them to some studies suggesting that feeding pumpkins to pigs was extremely effective at eliminating the parasites. This intrigued the duo for two reasons. First, the cost of pumpkins in season was very low. Second, they remembered that their grandmothers gave them "pumpkin seed tea" when they were younger claiming this was "good for their health". They had not consumed this tea in decades, but they wondered if there was a link between their grandmothers' tea and their research. They hypothesized that this tea could have the same effect on humans as feeding pumpkins to pigs. A randomized control experiment was conducted with 100 children whose tests confirmed they were infected with the intestinal parasite, Ascariasis. 50 received a placebo (crushed biscuits in water) while the other 50 received the pumpkin seed tea. The 50 control children saw their rates of infection remain the same or increase. Those who took the pumpkin seed tea saw the rates of infection decrease by over 90%. All children were provided Albendazole after the experiment to rid themselves of Ascariasis. While Albendazole is a great medication that needs to be used, the pumpkin seed tea offers some great advantages. First, the tea can be made for free or nearly free during pumpkin season or any time pumpkins are available. Thus, it can be done monthly all throughout the year and not just during the annual national deworming efforts. Second, those missed in the deworming campaigns, particularly adults, can also receive treatment. Third, all medications stop working over time as parasites (or bacteria or viruses) adapt. We are already seeing some resistance to Albendazole in laboratory animals. Fourth, there are many who do not trust "western" style medications or those that are providing them. So, this natural alternative fits better with their beliefs and preferences. These results were so impressive that this study is being written up in a national journal that will be released in late 2023. One final advantage (or warning depending on your bowel movement status)....the pumpkin seed tea is a moderate laxative.
Turimumahoro Etienne (Rwanda) - Using Ash/Cinder As Soap Alternative - Nearly every hygiene or WASH training for children and communities involves one key element....washing your hands. This may seem easy and simple for many, but what happens when your community suffers from extreme poverty and lacks the resources to pay for soap? This is a reality for hundreds of millions of people across the globe. This challenge plagued the heart and mind of Pastor Etienne, who had seen great changes in his community following his work using the SMM materials, but this was still a major hurdle. That was true until he remembered something from his childhood. His grandmother had cleaned her pots and pans using water as well as ash from the fireplace. He wondered if this could work for cleaning hands as well. Could this cheap and readily available waste from burnt wood have value? To his great delight, Pastor Etienne discovered this was a great soap alternative, and now this method is used throughout his community causing rates of diseases like Ascariasis to further plummet. In fact, wood ash has been used as the primary ingredient in "wood ash soap" that was more commonly made over a century ago in many communities throughout the world.
Mutebi Henry (Uganda) - Adding Ash And Smoking Latrines To Improve Sanitation - Pit latrines are the most common toilet for rural communities throughout the world. While these are valuable tools to promote proper sanitation of human waste, anyone who has used these can attest to two major problems....insects and odor. Flies, cockroaches, and mosquitoes are drawn to the water and the waste to feed and breed. Not only is the presence unpleasant, but they also carry some of the fecal matter with them as they move about or even land on people using the latrines, which can spread many diseases such as Cholera. Yet, there is still the problem of the overpowering odor, particularly in the warmer times of year. Mutebi had been seeking ways to reduce Ascariasis and other diseases, but the use and sanitation of latrines was a huge problem. In this search for answers, he learned of some nearby communities using ash in their pit latrines with great success. He experimented with this same idea in his community, and he found two things happened. First, the presence of insects was eliminated as they found the ash covered areas inhospitable to them and their offspring. Second, the odor was significantly reduced. Mutebi and his team also experimented with using smoking palm or banana leaves to further reduce the odor...kind of like lighting a very large match after an extended bathroom visit.
Mutebi Henry (Uganda) pictured above - Solid Surface Flooring With Locally Available Materials - Henry was our 1st Grand-prize winner of our Finding Health Competition. There were some incredible entries that year, and many will help create sustainable and powerful solutions for years to come. Henry had started this process of discovery over a year ago to eradicate Jiggers, a wingless flea that burrows into your skin causing discomfort, disfigurement and shame. He began to look for places where Jiggers were absent despite similar environmental and economic conditions. He learned that community just a few kilometers away did not have any. His careful observations and knowledge of the life cycle of Jiggers from his Sustainable Med training enabled him to discover that the locally made, solid surface flooring was one of the key factors. For many decades, these cattle keepers had formed floors from the mixture cow dung and soils, which created a strong and durable surface when prepared correctly. These floors eliminated the dusty breeding grounds needed for these parasitic fleas to thrive.
Marc Nizeyimana (Rwanda) picture above - Creative Education On Water Treatment. Over 1 billion people in the world suffer from the intestinal parasite, Ascariasis. Pastor Marc knew this was a huge issue in his community, but he began to look for places Ascariasis was uncommon. While Acariasis was huge issue in his Rwandan village, MUTURA, it was strangely absent in KANZENZE even though both villages were along the MIZINGO River and drew their water from the same place. Pastor Marc discovered the difference was that those in KANZENE boiled their water before drinking it or washing their dishes with this water. Many people are told about ways to clean water, but often people to do not follow these instructions in the village setting. Pastor Marc worked with the community to form creative and relevant teaching techniques to reinforce the importance of treating the water before consuming it. Some followed the practices of their neighbors by boiling the water while others followed a newer technique called Solar Water Disinfection or SODIS (https://www.sodis.ch/methode/anwendung/index_EN.html)