Volunteers from the West-Central Africa Division (WAD) headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church embarked on a screening and deworming initiative in southern Côte d’Ivoire in early December 2018. Regional church offices are located in nearby Abidjan, the capital of the country.
Through the church headquarters leaders’ and staff’s initiative, more than 6,000 students enrolled in kindergarten, primary, and secondary public schools, as well as 219 teachers of Ayamé city, benefited from this campaign.
The operation began with free diabetes and blood pressure screening. It also featured a deworming exercise in Ayamé schools 1, 2, and 4, which includes three elementary schools and a kindergarten.
According to Tia Michel and Djaha Maltilde from one of the Ayamé elementary schools and the kindergarten respectively, the Adventist-led operation is a good initiative, especially in schools where children are more exposed to these health challenges. “The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s screening and deworming campaign has been a good action,” Michel said. “The first one has allowed us as teachers to know our health markers regarding diabetes and high blood pressure, two conditions affecting many today.”
Maltilde also touted the benefits of the deworming campaign. “Students dewormed will keep in good health and become better students,” she said.
Both emphasized how grateful they were that the Adventist Church decided to get involved. “We want to express a big ‘thank you’ to [the Adventist] Church for this gift at the end of the year. May God bless you abundantly,” they said.
The event was coordinated by WAD Ministerial Association director Vincent Roger Same on behalf of the WAD church region president Elie Weick-Dido, who was away on a work-related trip. Same emphasized the connection between this initiative and the work of the church. “This operation is part of the social outreach of the [Adventist] Church, which is to help those in need. Moreover, across the 22 countries of this church region, these actions, supported by ADRA, remain one of the means by which we bring happiness, joy, and hope to our population,” he said.
Same also noted that as some states struggle to meet the needs of their populations, churches must step up. “It is important and even necessary for religious entities and NGOs to engage in actions that help our communities. This can ease their pains,” he said.
In the village of Elokaté near Bingerville, outside of Abidjan, more than 3,000 students and residents also benefited from a deworming campaign on December 13, 2018. The initiative took place in two public schools and the market square. Volunteers also participated in a meal and a thanksgiving service that took place at the local Adventist church. “We are grateful for the privilege of helping others,” they said.