In May Hannibal LaGrange University in Hannibal, MO sent their third nursing department team to us. The team of six students and two instructors arrived just in time to help our newly formed Health Committe address the nacidos outbreak in our community.
Nacidos are a type of contagious skin boil that affect many people in poor communities in our country. Nacidos are treatable with a combination of topical antibiotics and injections to attack the staph infection.
Similar to treating for lice, it is recommended that all the bedding and clothes in an affected house be washed, and that surface areas in the house bleached. It’s enough to make an American with an automatic washer and dryer groan. Now combine those instructions with pumping water and carrying it to your house.
The team worked alongside the women from five houses and the Health Committee to help eliminate nacidos in five houses where the infection has been very intense. If anyone had been counting the number of buckets of water carried to wash clothes and clean the houses, I’m sure they would have quickly lost count.
Another common problem the people in our village encounter, especially our children, is hongo. This fungus is most often seen in the hair and on the face. Again, it is very treatable. The nursing students made an antifungal shampoo and distributed it and antifungal cream to the women who came to health education workshops. The women were encouraged to not only help their children but also other children in their neighborhood by sharing the shampoo and antifungal cream. We even comissioned an “anti-hongo police squad.”
During the last visit the nurses showed our women how to take temperature and left two thermometers for the women to share. This year each participant received a first aid kit complete with their own thermometer! The nurses also brought new blood pressure cuffs to replace the two they left previously. We had a refresher course planned but were thrilled to see that it wasn’t necessary. The women remembered!
Another workshop topic was about the importance of drinking water. Felt pieces were used to teach a little about each body system and how a lack of water hindered it’s functioning. Our village women were amazed by this presentation. Each woman present was given a water bottle and encouraged to begin using it to measure their water intake.
It seemed the women readily applied was they learned about drinking water! The next time we were together they were drinking from their water bottles. They were reporting fewer headaches, less dizziness and an overall improvement in how they felt due to drinking more water. “I had no idea that if I drank more water I’d feel this much better,” reported one our ladies.
During one of the workshops a young mother told the nurses that she was very concerned about her son because his urine was so very dark. They suggested that she try giving him more water. The boy is now feeling well and his concerning symptoms are gone. (Sorry if that was a little too much information for some of you. It’s just an example of how practical the teaching was for our folks.)
Recently one of our little boys who doesn’t have much home support was limping. Rebekah looked at his foot and saw a cut. We referred him to Ricki and Carmencita who used their first aid kits to help him. Again, such practical ways to make a huge difference!
And of course, along the way, relationships were formed . . .
Thank you HLGU Nurses! We’ll eagerly await your next visit!