Spent the afternoon filming for the project. Followed Fiona Gall and her team to the disability centre where we saw 3 patients and interviewed their parents. So sad, such severe disabilities. First was a woman who had an 18 month old baby with a syndrome which has left her unable to walk or sit up alone. The mother has already lost two babies in childbirth. They live 2 hours walk from the nearest clinic and many of the women in her village die in labour, unable to reach medical help. She is hoping that John Fixssen-an Orthopaedic surgeon recently retired from
Second is an older mother with a 10 year old girl with cerebral palsy. She has a beautiful face. She will never walk and will be dependent on her family always.
The last is a young boy with his father and brother. He sits with his arms and legs out rigid, his mouth held open at all times. He became jaundiced while he was a school boy in 6th grade and suffered terrible brain damage as a result. His father is very poor and runs a stall selling second hand things in the bazaar. The boy’s brother is his carer. He does everything for him and is the most loving and gracious child—his arm protectively around his brother at all times, he carries him or helps him to move by holding him around the waist and propelling him forwards. He washes him and takes him to the loo, feeds him and apart from his 4 hours schooling each day is constantly at his side. The only thing that can be done to help this boy is to give him a wheelchair, made locally and suitable for the harsh environment ....and something that will give him much more freedom and help his carer. 3 cameos of life, very moving and incredibly humbling.
We move on to the
This hospital couldn’t have been more of a surprise and shows what can be done. It is run by a wonderful man who fled to
He showed us around his immaculate hospital which would shame any NHS facility by its cleanliness. We saw the neonatal unit, the operating theatre, the obstetric unit. All very basic, but clean and functional. Then onto the malnutrition unit...where starvation and disease are still manifesting themselves in tiny wasted bodies with huge empty eyes. It is shocking to see and deeply disturbing, but at least we know that these children are now in capable hands in a clean and safe environment and most will get better.
He is a remarkable man and this is a remarkable hospital and a symbol of true hope...like those schools we saw yesterday, it shows that with determination and commitment, things can improve...these are the success stories about which we never read.