On #WorldHeartDay, we share the latest on EMERGENCY’s approach to Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD). A sustainable model, showing that it is possible and right to provide free, quality surgery and care to everyone in need
Aisha and Hawa, 2 and 7, arrive at the Paediatric Centre in Port Sudan in a serious condition. They come from Nigeria and areaccompanied by their mother, who only speaks Hausa, a language that none of our staff can speak. Luckily, other mothers in the hospital can communicate with her and they help us translate. Three of her sons, the woman tells us, died of the same illness. She went to local hospitals in Kano – the city they live in – several times, but she never got an adequate answer. The condition of the girls, meanwhile, continued to deteriorate.
She did not know what to do or who to turn to until, one day, some of her cousins living near Port Sudan told her about EMERGENCY and about “a centre that provides great paediatric care for free.” So, the woman decided to leave: the three of them faced a 4,000 km journey by bus and truck to get here.
After some examinations, our doctors understood the problem: the girls are suffering from acute respiratory failure, sepsis and sickle cell anaemia, a genetic bloodstream disease that is very common in the area. It is a condition that cannot be completely cured but can be limited and managed with proper treatment.
Since they arrived here at the centre, their condition improved considerably and yesterday, eight days after their hospitalisation, we discharged them. They will come back in two weeks for a follow-up visit and, in the meantime, they will stay here in Port Sudan, hosted by their cousins.
We are immensely satisfied: because we have been able to help Aisha and Hawa and because, working day by day, earnestly and with passion for our jobs, responding to medical needs in a professional and human manner, our reputation has extended far beyond the borders of Sudan and reached those in need 4,000km away.