Project visit - Malawi - Part 2
This is the part 2 of Pierre's story from the Malawi project visit. We will cover the story of Aisha and his son Razack, the Mercy James hospital, and future plan for CHSBH Malawi.
Aisha and Razack
While we were going through the wards, Blessings spotted a woman with a boy on her back, fixed with some sort of fabric. The mother, Aisha, had 2 full travel bags, along with a child, Razack, strapped on her back.
We went to help her out with the bags, and without any hyperbole, the bags must have been 10-15 kilograms each, and she has been carrying those with her child on the back! Aisha and Razack came all the way from Mangochis, which is 250 km away from the hospital in Blantyre.
Razack is a 5 year old boy with spina bifida. The initial surgery was done well, however, the proper followup care was absent, and as a result, Razack developed serious pressure wounds. In Pierre’s words: “Razack has fashionable jeans with cool sexy holes. But the bitter thing is that those holes reveal large, terrible wounds. I see that his stiff feet hang down and need to be treated to get the right angle to be able to walk later with crutches. Razack crawls to move. And the puncture wounds show where his legs drag on the ground…” This wasn’t all, we also discovered, in an unfortunate way, that no continence management has been started. Without continence management, children don’t stay dry, and get very unforgettable sitting in their own urine.
Mercy James Hospital
This is where we step away from Queen’s Elizabeth hospital, and go to the Mercy James hospital, which is right next to Queens, along with Aisha and Razack.
This hospital is named after Madonna's daughter who she had adopted from Malawi in 2009.
This hospital is a whole other world. Everything is decorated with murals, clean, and there’s room for everyone.
Here we met with Elfrida, the first nurse who we trained in continence management while back, who worked at IF. When we were working together closely, during the trainings, we visited a boy with Spina Bifida, who is all grown up now, and works at the reception of the center. His name is Salama Shaibu, and he recognized me. Those moments, priceless and incredibly difficult to describe, are the fruits and feedback of our work, that we are moving in the right direction, together.
How far have we come?
We are all happy that Razack can come here for treatment, for foot correction, and wound care. This wouldn’t have happened if his mom hadn’t crossed all this way to save his son. The majority of other children are not that fortunate, and that points out to us and Child-Help Malawi about a tremendous need for a solid plan to reach children like Razack. Blessings has an important task ahead. He has come far in the execution of his plans, by signing MoUs with all 4 Queens hospitals, he enabled a straightforward way for hospital personnel to get trained in CIC.
This mission requires fighting on multidimensional fronts. Building on that, Blessings has been fighting on a political front, together with a Malawi self-help group, for better care in the country.
Also, the supply of medical materials and shunts is another front, which Blessings has been successfully defending, and managing to properly distribute the shunts that we give.
Working with Blessings has been a true blessing, and it has shown us how people are the key to developing successful systems, and staying in the fight.
During the next articles, you will learn about palliative care. Don’t forget to continue supporting us, that way we can continue supporting the projects to the best of our ability and to the extent that they need.
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Project visit - Malawi - Part 4
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Project visit - Malawi - Part 3
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Project visit - Malawi - Part 1
Last month, the founder of Child-Help, Pierre Mertens, visited our friends and colleagues in Malawi, as a part of the project visit. In the following 5 posts we will present Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in Malawi, through the work of our partner - CHSBH Malawi.
We will write about how far the work has come, as well as challenges and hardships they had to overcome, and the storms that are yet to be weathered.