Letters

Choose life

I co-ordinate a programme against AIDS called 'Choose Life' with a total of 40 church denominations. It was not easy to set up this interchurch group, but with God's help we managed to draw up a programme with the objectives of:

  • mobilising all the churches in the fight against AIDS
  • training grass-roots activists and community leaders to facilitate the programme
  • producing resources, both in terms of trained people and teaching aids.

We lost all our resources during the recent volcanic eruption here when our office was burnt down. But God is great and we are building up our resources again.

Ndungo-Sakoul, c/o/ Lyn Lusi, DOCS, BP 540, Gisenyi, Rwanda

From despair to hope

The history of Adranga Medical Centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo was discussed in Footsteps 37, describing how it was planning to close due to a number of problems with lack of community support.  However, while awaiting the arrival of the Director to fulfil this decision, the country's political situation led to the interruption of many activities in the north east of the country. This included the suspension of flights, making it impossible for the Director to visit Aru.

The Adranga Health Centre therefore continued to function. The co-ordination team originally appointed to oversee the closure ensured that positive progress was made in educating new health committee members, by training the two village health workers appointed by the committee, and by obtaining new nurses and supervising their work. They made contact with influential people in Adranga and with the authorities of Biringi Rural Health Zone, who helped provide in-service training for the nurses and midwives, together with essential medicines, materials and equipment.

All these activities, with the commitment of the new committee members, have led to the conscience of the community of Adranga being awakened. They now recognise that this centre belongs to them and are more aware of the need to pay for healthcare, improve water sources, encourage mothers to come for antenatal care and bring children for vaccination. The community is now building a nurses' home, and toilets and showers for the patients.

From the threat of closure three years ago, the centre is now considered a model health centre.

Dr Francesca Elloway, Mr Baba Atseko and Mr Ezati Ezai, Co-ordination Office, The Anglican Church of Congo, Medical Service, Aru, Democratic Republic of Cong

Problems with fleas

Here in Madagascar, tungiasis or pig fleas are a real problem. They infest the sandy floors of people's homes or the sand outside their homes. Children are sometimes so badly affected they cannot walk properly.

Can readers help with any ideas to deal with this problem? Are there any natural pesticides for fleas that are not harmful to people? The people here are very poor so are unable to buy pesticides. A safe repellent for the skin would also be very helpful.

Kim Baldwin Radford, Toamasina, Madagascar

Minerals for livestock

It is very important to provide animals with a balanced diet to keep them really healthy. Providing a mineral mixture helps ensure their nutritional needs are met. This is especially recommended for animals put out to graze during the dry season, young, growing animals and pregnant females or those feeding young.

Here is how to prepare a mineral mixture:

  • Obtain fresh bones from the market (you can also use sea shells or a mixture of shells and bones).
  • Burn the bones until they become grey and flaky.
  • Crush them and pass them through a sieve; 1kg of bones will  produce about 1/4kg of ash.
  • Mix two parts of powdered bones with one part of cooking salt.

Give the following amounts for 3-4 days: For medium sized animals such as sheep, goats, pigs and dogs give one matchbox full each day. For larger animals such as cows, horses and donkeys give two matchboxes each day. For small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs, give one teaspoonful each day.

Repeat every two or three months. Try it, and you will see how effective this mixture is.

Yoummie Amos, Animal Industry Technician, BP 8300, Douala, Cameroon E-mail: youm_a@yahoo.fr