A rare health condition which causes the pealing off of the skin on the palms of the hands, and sole of the feet has crippled a family in Fombe, Nyanga which is appealing for medical assistance to diagnose the name and causes the illness.
Speaking to State of the Nation, Chisina Kembo, the eldest member in a family of four Children said she inherited this condition from her mother together with her three siblings. She said the condition is also passing on to her children. Due to the condition, the family cannot walk or use their hands to do basic chores because of the pain they feel when they attempt to use their hands and feet.
“I started developing this condition when I was very young. My mother had the same condition so that is where I inherited it. The condition is also going to our children. We have gone to our local clinics and hospitals to try and find out its causes, but the doctors could not identify the causes of the illness.
“There are some Doctors who said we may be suffering from Leprosy, but they were not sure. Due to this condition, I cannot walk because of the pain I feel when I attempt to. I also cannot use my hands to conduct basic chores. The same goes with my sisters and children,” said Kembo.
She said the family has failed to go to school or acquire documents like birth certificates and national identity cards due to lack of mobility. As a result, they do not know their age and dates of birth. Kembo said the family suspects their Grandfather to be responsible for causing this infliction as they accuse him of conducting a ritual which brought this illness.
“We believe this was caused by rituals. Our family suspects that our Grandfather used juju to cause this infliction because he was a Traditional Healer. When he was confronted by our mother about this issue, he committed suicide so we never got the chance to hear him respond to these accusations,” she said.
The family lives at a poorly built house which may collapse in the face of heavy rains. Their home is far away from basic amenities like schools, hospitals, shops and water sources. This makes it difficult for them to access these services.
The family once had a house that is closer to a local school at Fombe but they shifted when it was invade by a big snake which they couldn’t remove. A close family friend called Debra Samhere who is a teacher at Emmanuel High School said the family needs assistance with food, water and shelter.
“I met this family in 2012 when they came to our school looking for food. From then, we established a relationship where they come to me when they face challenges. So I make sure that I mobilize people in our community and church to donate food and basic necessities to them.
“But this family needs proper accommodation. Their houses are substandard and they expose them to rains and the colds. There is a house that was constructed for them near the shops but its not yet completed. So it needs roofing materials for it to be finished.
“The family also needs to be close to a source of water. Our area is dry and most water sources are far beyond their reach. So water is a big challenge for them. They also need food because they really struggle to work for themselves. They try very hard to farm on their fields but it is difficult for them. So they really need to be assisted with food,” said Samhere.
After hearing their story on local media, the Alfred Dondo Foundation visited the family on 5 November to donate groceries and basic commodities to the family.
Speaking after the donation, Impala Car Rental Group Brand and Projects Manager Tracy Ngoma said the foundation was moved to visit this family after hearing about their dire situation.
“This is our second visit to this family after we heard about their situation. We have made this donation to assist them. If our funds permit, we would like to assist them with accommodation because their current houses cannot protect them from rains. They really need a proper roof over their head,” she said.