On 18 July, as millions of people globally observed Nelson Mandela International Day, Kenya marked it with an “Anti-Jigger” activity. Staff of UNIC Nairobi, the South African High Commission, the Ahadi Kenya Trust Foundation and other partners joined hands to treat jiggers-infected children at Juja farm in Thika district.
To make the Day a success, individual UN staff members and those of the South African High Commission contributed funds for medication kits to treat the skin-rotting disease. In addition, private sector organizations donated various items to the community.
Children as young as eighteen months were among those treated. At the beginning of the treatment process, Dr. Stanley Kamau of the Ahadi Trust Foundation explained the extent to which jiggers can affect individuals by highlighting the symptoms of an infected child. Led by Ndumiso Ntshinga, the South African High Commissioner to Kenya, all guests were provided with the necessary kits for washing the jiggers-infected youth.
The activity gave UN staff an opportunity to contribute to improving the health of children at Juja farm. UNIC Director Nasser Ega-Musa, who led the UN team, noted how the activity strengthened the partnership between the UN, civil and corporate societies. He added: “The kids whose infested feet we lovingly washed will never forget the kindness and care we brought into their obviously difficult lives”.
The UN Secretary-General’s message for the Day was delivered at the function. The message encouraged everyone to take action and be part of the Mandela movement to make the world a better place. “That” he said “is the best way to wish Nelson Mandela a very happy 94th birthday.”
The speeches from the Government and other partners recognized Mr Mandela’s contributions to democracy, racial justice and reconciliation in his 67 years to public service. The Secretary-General’s video message was screened at the UNON complex.