Tunga are parasitic insects that burrow into the bare feet of their human hosts, making walking painful, keeping children out of school and adults out of work, and risking infection that, if left untreated, can lead to loss of limb and even death. Tunga, malaria, and diarrhea are relatively straightforward to treat, yet these diseases are “neglected ” to the extent that prevention and treatment have been elusive in the poorer corners of the world.
Cohesu is a Kenyan NGO leading the fight against these diseases that affect children and their families within the larger Western regions of Kenya, leveraging technology and research to solve entrenched health issues in the surrounding districts. For example, students who walk several miles each day to get to school, pain from Tunga infestation adds yet another barrier to accessing education. Using the Simprints biometric system, our partners at Cohesu work with 26 schools to identify and treat children suffering from Tunga and malaria. Future outbreaks are prevented by providing each child with a sturdy pair of TOMS shoes. Similarly in 100 homesteads, Cohesu is using Simprints to track, treat, and prevent diarrhea outbreaks among the 1,000 residents in the area.
"Simprints makes our workflow flawless. We had challenges before, like supply bottlenecks. We’d end up giving too many shoes, only to realise not too many of these children actually exist. So we tied our distribution to a fingerprint. Simprints basically brought the most beautiful cake we could expect.”
With Simprints only requiring seconds to link a child's fingerprint to their record, Cohesu have reduced their in-school work times from 1-2 days to under 4 hours, proving their value-for-time to the local Ministry of Education. Additionally, shoe requests used to be made for “ghost” students (students who only exist on paper) but now that one set of fingerprints is tied to one set of shoes, Cohesu powerfully demonstrates value-for-money to their own donor partners, making the programme more sustainable. Together, we are reaching over 9,000 beneficiaries.
Cohesu and Simprints will be continuing our partnership through 2019 to reach up to 15,000 children, set up an additional Tunga and malaria treatment clinic to serve the surrounding community, and reach an additional 1,000 people in a separate diarrhea prevention programme.