Although many people look primarily for performance, style, and comfort in our shoes, our footwear also serves important protective purposes. Not wearing shoes leaves children and adults in various parts of Africa—including Uganda—vulnerable to some debilitating diseases and infections.
Podoconiosis is a disease that develops through walking barefoot on volcanic soil for years at a time. It causes the legs, feet, and toes to swell and can leave sufferers unable to walk. It also causes the skin to thicken and split, which leads to ulcers and infections. This disease is as stigmatized as it is prevalent in African societies; it also interferes with the ability of children to go to school and with the ability of adults to go to work.
Podoconiosis can be prevented by washing soil off of the feet or by wearing shoes. However, it’s difficult to reach clean water sources for washing in some communities, and shoes may be unaffordable for many. As is the case with public health issues anywhere, education on the contraction and spread of common diseases is necessary in Uganda and other affected African communities. Public education will improve efforts toward disease prevention, treatment, and destigmatization.
Helminth Infections: Definition and Cause
Helminth infections are soil-transmitted parasitic worm infections. They are one of the most common global infections, and they impact low-income communities the hardest. In areas where there is inadequate sanitation and footwear available, these parasites are transmitted through contaminated soil. There are three main types of parasites that cause these infections: the roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm.
Like podoconiosis, helminth infections can be prevented by wearing closed-toe shoes. However, as one Ugandan farmer explains, many people either don’t possess element-resistant shoes, or only own one pair that they don’t want to get dirty. In addition, many communities are located far from health centers, which makes it difficult for people to get treatment for helminth and other infection types.
In conjunction with increasing the number of clean water sources and making medical treatment more readily available in African communities, the best way to help prevent common infections and diseases is to improve health education. This is especially true in the case of young children, who are most vulnerable to health-related hardships.
Support Ugandan Students With Recurring Donations
You can help improve the quality of life for Ugandans by supporting schools and education programs, which provide children with the tools they need to build a more promising future. Simone’s Kids in Nakaseke, Uganda provides education and meets basic needs for children in order to help them break the cycle of poverty.
You can maximize your impact with recurring donations to Simone’s Kids by joining The Village. The Village is a passionate group of donors committed to bettering the lives of children in Uganda by making monthly donations that help to provide better meals, more teachers, more activities, and even post-graduation services.
You can also make a difference by shopping at the Simone’s Kids Store or donating to Simone’s Kids. Your gifts help purchase school supplies, textbooks, food, and other necessities for Ugandan students. Consider doubling your contribution by asking if your employer participates in a donation match. Give today!