Posted: Sun, February 01, 2015 | By: Kasese Humanist School
Pellissier Science Laboratory #1 was launched on February 2, 2015, at Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. The center is named after the primary funder of a GoFundMe campaign, that raised $2,675 in only two days.
Bob Pellissier - CEO of RKI Instruments in Union City, California - donated $1,500 to a Brighter Brains Institute campaign in December 2014 to start-up a “Parasitology Laboratory.” The campaign “perk” for anyone who contributed more than $1,000 was to choose the name of the new clinic, and Bob Pellissier selected his surname for the honor.
Bob’s interest in science complements the lab’s location at the science-based Kasese Humanist Primary School, (KHPS) where the director - Bwambale Robert - enthusiastically offered free space in a newly-built facility. Kasese is a town in the foothills of the Rwenzori “Mountains of the Moon” in western Uganda.
Jeff Pellissier - Bob’s first cousin and a West Hollywood Farmer’s Insurance Agency owner - also chipped in with a $500 contribution. Hank Pellissier - Bob’s older brother - is the director of BBI and the organizer of the campaign.
Pellissier Science Laboratory #1 will combat the multiple maladies that scourge the region’s residents: malaria, bilharzia, typhoid, cholera, pneumonia, diarrhea, malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, and helmenthiasis (sicknesses caused by parasitic worms.) Uganda has the highest infant mortality rate in East Africa, with 131 children out of 1,000 dying before the age of five. The laboratory will primarily serve the 325 KHPS students, plus the 70,000 inhabitants of Kasese. It will also instruct students in medicine, hygiene, and human biology.
Worldwide, three billion people are afflicted by parasitic worms that kill approximately 15 million people per year, primarily in Africa. The “silent assassins” - tapeworms, flatworms, hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, pinworms - cause horrific diseases, disfigurations, and debilitations: Onchocerciasis (River Blindness), Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis), Trichuriasis, Ascariasis, Bloody Diarrhea, Anemia, Malnutrition.
Mental health is also crippled; 3.75 IQ points are lost per parasite infection and a MIT study “found that deworming was by far the most cost-effective way to increase primary school participation.” Severe malaria can also damage a child’s neurological and cognitive development.
Helminthic diseases are transmitted via feces-contaminated soil, animals, toilet seats, water, and food. A Uganda study revealed 42.6% of children were infected; 12.8% with hookworms, 9.6% with Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), 4.3% with Ascaris. Giardia (protozoa) was found in 8.5%; Entamoeba histolytic (also protozoan) in 7.4%.
Pellissier Science Laboratory #1 is equipped with a microscope, medical book, fecal-testing and malaria ID equipment, plus multiple medicines: Albendazole, Ivermectin, Praziquantel, Metronidazole, Coartem. A Ugandan medical technician - Rujumba Lamech Maate - has been hired to be on site - to analyze patients, dispense curatives, and train students and community in prevention techniques. The laboratory is referred to as “#1” because Bob Pellissier is establishing additional Pellissier Science Laboratories. A second location has already been secured at Vision Care Primary School, in the Rwenzori hamlet of Kyarumba. The 142 students enrolled at Pellissier Science Laboratory #2 will also start receiving care by February 2, 2015.
Bob Pellissier also wants to help children with science and engineering aptitude - he might establish a “Pellissier Science Scholarship for Orphans” fund at KHPS.
Bob’s brother Hank - the BBI director - will annually deliver supplies and inspect the laboratories. Cousin Jeff - a hunting enthusiast - intends to visit on a safari that bags a big buffalo.
Family-run charities are popular, but the grassroots energy of the Pellissier venture is unusual. They hope their humanitarian enterprise encourages other families to unite in efforts to alleviate human suffering.
The cost to establish a medical clinic? Shockingly low! In Kasese, the school’s 325 students will be carefully watched over and cured of myriad threats for less than $2,200. At Kyarumba’s smaller school the budget will be a mere $1,387.50. And that’s Tax Deductible!
Are you a philanthropic family, school group, church, or business? Want to set up your own health clinic for a struggling community? email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.