Abbie Trayler-Smith

Rusoro, Cibitoke, Burundi

Four provinces in Burundi are severly affected by Neglected Tropical Diseases such as Onchocerchiasis (River Blindness), Schistosomiasis (bilharzia) and STH's (Soil Transmitted Helminths). Each year thousands of local volunteers give up their work for up to 2 weeks to distribute of medicines in their villages for The Distribution Campaign for Neglected Tropical Diseases run by the Ministry of Health.
Estelle Nowhiri (54), who has Onchocerchiasis, says:
"I got ill over five years ago. First of all I felt something on my skin and I needed to scratch it, sometimes I had to take a stick so I could scratch it hard. Most of the time it was difficult to work in the fields and cultivate because I was scratching my body all the time. Even if I went to visit someone or go to pray or worship because I was scratching my body all the time I suffering so much. I suffered for five years but now I am doing well because I started to take medication. It was difficult to work for five years, I was so ashamed and I felt so bad, even at the night it was difficult to sleep, I slept with a stick so I could scratch. When they started to give me the medicine after 4 months I started to feel better and did not need to scratch my body so much. Now I am feeling very good. If we didn't get the medicine I am sure we would be killed by this disease. As we walk everywhere insects come to bite us because of all the blood from the scratches. I am a farmer, I cultivate the fields and now, since taking the medicine, I can do everything . I am very happy the medicine has come to our village. All my neighbours have taken the medicine. We are happy because in the fut

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Abbie Trayler-Smith
Rusoro, Cibitoke
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