Letters

Respecting rights, recognising duties

The idea of rights implies that of duties. The rights of one person bring about the duties of another and the duties of another bring about the rights of another.

Citizenship education means making people aware of their rights and duties as citizens. This can make a positive contribution to the promotion of peace, democracy, good governance and human rights, at all levels. Responsible citizenship education should be promoted in formal and informal education systems.

If each person, in their everyday life, were to respect the right of other people to life, education, health, physical integrity and individual freedom, and if they consistently carried out their duties to their village, country and all of humanity, would it not be possible to transform this world?

Pierre A Panda, Democratic Republic of Congo. Email: amkardc@yahoo.fr

A smile

A smile costs nothing but can produce a great deal of happiness. It enriches those who receive it, without making the one who gives the smile any poorer. A smile is a gift that cannot be bought, or loaned, or stolen. Nobody is ever so rich that they can do without smiles. Nobody is so poor that they don’t deserve one. And if sometimes you meet someone who no longer knows how to smile, be generous and give him yours.

Gabriel Sabi, BP 180, Parakou, Benin. Email: peacegabi@yahoo.fr

Using literacy in the church response to HIV

We have an HIV project, working with local churches in local languages. We printed booklets called Nkana Mendo (‘Mendo’s story’) in Bulu, the language spoken here in the southern part of Cameroon. The booklets are written in simple language so that even people who are just learning how to read should be able to understand them. They are distributed in the churches. The story is about a little girl called Mendo who sees her family devastated by AIDS. Both her parents die and she is left to care for her siblings. The story shows how local churches can be involved in responding to AIDS. There is also a facilitator’s manual which has questions for discussion, facts about HIV, and Bible studies.

Gaston Delors Bityo, Project Coordinator, PO Box 14920, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Tel: (237) 732 23 64 Email: bizang_vsd@yahoo.fr

Cockroaches

I live in Bunia, in Democratic Republic of Congo. In the last few months my house has been invaded by cockroaches, especially in the cupboards and wardrobes. I have used a whole range of methods to get rid of them, but in vain. I would like information about how to get them out of my house (but not kill them).

Kabangu-Wa-Katanga, Papy MONUC/Bunia, PO Box 710, Entebbe, Uganda. Email: papy@un.org; papy.kabangu@freesurf.fr


Deworming, iron, and anaemia

In low- and middle-income countries, about 1.2 billion people are infected with roundworm, and more than 700 million are infected with hookworm or whipworm. Infection with intestinal worms is linked with poverty because it is caused by unsafe disposal of faeces.

Infection can occur at any age, but is most common in school-age children. It affects physical and mental development during childhood. Worms cause anaemia, and anaemia can reduce mental ability.

Routine use of deworming medicines could make a public health impact on anaemia in populations affected by intestinal worms. Giving iron also reduces anaemia.

The most commonly used drugs for the treatment of common intestinal worms are albendazole (400 mg) or mebendazole (500 mg). They are given as a single tablet to all children, regardless of size or age. One pill can cost as little as US$0.02 and generally needs to be given only once a year.

From Community Health Global Network (CHGN) Newsletter, June 2007 www.communityhealthglobal.net


Washing hands

Rinsing hands with water alone is not enough for good hygiene. Both hands should be rubbed with soap or ash and rinsed with running water to wash the germs away. Hands should be washed frequently, especially after going to the toilet and before handling food.