Abbie Trayler-Smith

Bururi, Burundi

Marie Mahayo (35) is one of thousands of 'distributors' of medications that combat Neglected Tropical Diseases. In every village of Bururi, Rutana, Cibitoke and Bubanza Provinces a small team of local volunteers make up a distribution team for the Drug Administration Campaign for Neglected Tropical Diseases. They check off members of the population, measure them to decide what drugs to give and the dose, administer them and keep a tally of numbers in order to help the health authorities reach all parts of the rural population. 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. Onchocerchiasis is the world's second-leading infectious cause of blindness and causes serious itching and inflammation of the skin. It is spread by flies that breed by water. Schistomiasis is a form of worms, a chronic illness that can damage organs and cognitive delevopment in children and is spread by playing or washing in infected waters. STH's are intestinal worms which produce a large range of symptoms including diarrhoea, pains, and a general malaise that may affect working and learning capacities and impair physical growth.

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Abbie Trayler-Smith
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