Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A photo of one

Previously, I did an overview of all the patients in the hospital. Today I will switch gears and talk about just one.
This is a 6 year old girl we will call Sarah. When she came to the hospital, she weighed only 11.7 kg (25 3/4 lbs.)
She is one of the many who have lost their home in the fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She and her family had to flee into the forest. She went with her dad and her little sister went with her mom. They were in the forest for 10 days before they made it to a refugee site. Since she was already borderline malnourished, after those 10 days she became even more so.
This picture was taken after about 3 days in the hospital. The areas of skin peeling you are seeing is related to vitamin deficiencies, and the fact that she had a lot swelling is due to her lack of protein.
Her arms are very skinny. (That is a reliable place to look or malnutrition because the upper arm will not swell like the rest of the body.) The area around her biceps was 12 cm, with 14cm being the borderline for normal.
Her apathetic look is from hunger. When you are hungry to the point she is, you don't really care about much.
One of my prayers is that I will be able in a couple of weeks to show you the "after" picture of a child on her way to health.
There are a lot of obstacles though. One, because of the refugee situation we are having trouble getting the specialized formula we need. It is not a question of money but a question of logistics and organization. A lot of that is outside our control because it involves UNICEF and other alphabet organizations. Another is her parents understanding the need to give her food rich in protein and vitamins. The third and biggest is making sure the parents are able to get her enough "regular food" that when they leave she will not drop back into malnutrition again.
The good news is that the family is reunited. Also, for the past two Sundays they have been able to come to church at our hospital, participate in the worship, and hear the gospel being preached.
Please join with us in praying for her.

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