Humanitarian Minute With Pat Robertson: Anti-parasite Campaign
June 17, 2009
I'm proud to let you know that this week, Operation Blessing International (OBI), the humanitarian organization that I founded over 30 years ago, launched our annual global anti-parasite program. This year, the program, which has recently focused on Latin America, has been expanded to include the Ivory Coast in Africa and will help tens of millions of people through free medication and hands-on preventative training.
Intestinal parasites represent a scourge of mammoth proportions in the Third World and are one of the top ten causes of death in children under five. In many cases, parasites consume as much as 25 percent of the food that an infested person eats, thus depriving the body of nutrition. This is especially harmful in a developing country where food is hard to come by. I have been with little children in situations where their water and environment is foul and filled with parasites. According to the ministries of health in Latin America, it is estimated that 73.4 million school-aged children in the countries in which we are working are infected.
This week, we teamed up with the Mexican Ministry of Health and thousands of church volunteers to distribute an initial 1.5 million free doses of the anti-parasite medication Albendazole. The medication will be given to high-risk populations in the 125 poorest municipalities in Mexico, covering 7 states: Chiapas, Durango, Guerrero, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla and Veracruz. Since the medication requires a second treatment six months after the initial dose, a second treatment will be given later this year.
In November, we will then launch the program in Latin America with an initial distribution of medication that will treat millions of children in Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Peru. Six months later (May 2010), we will provide a second dose of the medication to those same children. A similar plan will take place in the Ivory Coast, with millions of children receiving two doses in a six-month timeframe beginning later this year. All told, we expect to distribute 26 million doses of free medication in addition to providing hands-on training to tens of millions this year alone.
In each country, we are working in conjunction with the government and thousands of churches that will distribute the medication and also provide basic hygiene training to combat future infestation. We are providing the medication, supervision and management of each program, along with providing anti-parasite educational materials designed by the World Health Organization.
OBI’s anti-parasite campaign has been in place since 2003 and has treated over 22 million children to date in countries including China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Laos, Nigeria, Niger, Guatemala, Peru and Mexico. For the fifth time, last October OBI treated approximately 2 million women and children in one day in Peru utilizing a network of 2000 churches and over 42,000 volunteers. In Guatemala, OBI has worked with the Departments of Health and Education to facilitate the de-worming of Guatemala’s entire population of over 2.1 million school age children in 2005 and 2006.
In nation after nation, OBI is putting into effect the medicine and practical knowledge necessary to set millions of people free from the debilitation caused by intestinal parasites.
God bless you.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.