Here come the rains

Here come the rains

Readers will know that Turkana is a very arid area with high temperatures – indeed in March temperatures reached an uncomfortable 40° Celsius. The rains would normally come twice a year, in April and October but there are many years where they receive none, and this makes life extremely difficult.   This year, however, there has been rain – more than three weeks of heavy downpours in April alone. And this, after over a year without any.

Of course, first and foremost, this is good news. As a result of these rains there is enough water collected in the earth pans and rock dams to sustain the population during prolonged drought. These also help refresh the water table, so the rain doesn’t all flow into Lake Turkana which is alkaline and therefore not suitable for drinking. With the rain comes new pasture. The animals now have enough grass and as the traditional food resource of the Turkana people, it means there is plenty of nourishment for all.

However, while the rains are welcome, it’s not all good news. Despite the enjoyment of a cool breeze and the melodious sounds of birdsong, so much water arriving in such a short period has a negative impact especially on the most vulnerable people; children under five years, pregnant women, the elderly and people with physical disabilities. The rains can bring high rates of diseases like malaria, since the mosquito breeding level is high, respiratory diseases like cold cough, pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, etc. caused by cold temperatures due to poorly thatched grass structures (manyattas), and waterborne diseases due to contaminated and stagnant water causing cholera and bilharzia.

As with all significant weather changes, there are logistical impacts too of the heavy rains which makes moving about between the development centres and the projects they are supporting very difficult and sometimes impossible.

All this puts a major strain on the Primary Healthcare Programmes we support, on the dispensaries and the mobile clinics. The teams on the ground are hoping to put in place some preventative measures to curb the above diseases. Malaria can be the biggest killer especially in the vulnerable, so mosquito nets are distributed as part of the programme. A net costs £10, so even small donations can help. More information and insights can be seen on this video.

And to donate, click here or scan the QR code:

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