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Success stories

One of the difficult things here is to focus on the successes. The difficult and tragic cases stick far more easily in our minds because of those very difficulties, but it’s important that the successes be remembered too. In light of this, I’d like to tell you some of our success stories.

Let me start off with some statistics:

Last month in the Potter’s Village medical center we treated:

- 257 outpatients: These range from anything from minor injuries, home manageable malaria, mild malnutrition, chest infections, skin conditions and gastroenteritis.

- 55 paediatric inpatients: These are the children under 12 who are too ill to be safely sent home. This includes the most severe malaria, typhoid, severe pneumonia, malnutrition, dehydration, meningitis and septicaemia.

- 15 neonates: These are newborn babies brought in for specialist care for prematurity, birth asphyxia, jaundice, respiratory management and poor feeding.

- Immunisations: I can’t tell you how many we see in a month but the numbers are huge. Immunisations are government funded and so free for the community and I can tell you, they have a much better immunisation rate here than in New Zealand!

- 2 abandoned babies: Timothy and Abigale were both abandoned at birth. People have come to know what Potter’s Village does so, when these children were found, they were soon after brought to us for care.

So in a month we have seen, treated and cared for a total of 327 children in this community and rescued 2 babies. Imagine what is done here in a year!

If numbers are not your forte, let me tell you some stories:

Nsabimana is 6 months old. He was brought here by his father because his mother died of TB and his father, having 7 other children, wasn’t managing. Nsabimana also has TB and is only 5Kg. He will be with us for 6 months for treatment before he is reunited with his family. Having been with us only 1 1/2 weeks, he is already much healthier, happy to demand attention from everyone and has put on 500grams!

Stuart is 1 1/2 years old. He came in severely dehydrated having had diarrhoea and vomiting for a week. He wasn’t feeding and has stopped walking. He was floppy and glassy eyed when he arrived and promptly vomited live worms everywhere (a surprisingly common thing!) Diagnosed with tapeworms and Guardia he was treated and three days later was feeding well, alert and up causing mischief!

Milia is 11 months old. She arrived one evening in her mother’s arms unconscious. After doing some tests me found that she had the most severe form of malaria and it had gone to her brain. Treating Cerebral Malaria is very touch-and-go and it was for the first few days. Milia was having difficulty breathing and was only responsive to pain. Almost 9 days later Milia is conscious and breast-feeding. She is still weak but making a slow and steady recovery.

There are many sad and tragic stories here but there are also awesome ones of recovery. Children who are so close to death recovering before our eyes and leaving with a smile (though some still terrified of our white faces!!).

The tragic stories may stay with you more, but please remember our successes. This is what I’m here for, to play a part in these stories both tragic and miraculous and hopefully be a tool by which some of these success stories are achieved.