Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tears for Namina...

3 ½ years old.
Weighing only 10 kilograms.
Inflicted with a devastating disease.
A disease rightfully referred to as the ‘Face of Poverty’.
It starts as a small lesion in the mouth and soon turns into a gangrenous infection.
Causing massive destruction to facial tissues within days.
Disfiguring the child for life.

Noma or Cancrum Oris.
A disease affecting the poorest of the poor.
Most commonly children with malnutrition and/or measles.
With a 90% mortality rate, few survive.
Although Namina is a victim of Noma, she is a survivor.
She pulled through after being admitted at a government hospital for a month.
And now she ended up at my doorstep.
With tears in my eyes I sit here, thinking about my newest patient.

My initial reaction was to send her away; ‘we cannot help’.
The ship is not around, surgery is not possible, what can I do?
But within minutes this little girl captured my heart.
I let her in.
At first she was very afraid and shy.
But after toys and hand games she warmed up and smiled as well as she could.
Then we took some pictures with the bandage still in place.
We then started her on her malaria medication after a positive test result.
And then enjoyed my lunch of rice with sauce as she needed it way more than I did!
Then the time came to assess the damage.

It was bad.
Sure enough it was Noma.
Namina has a gaping hole in the left side of her face.
I have rarely seen anything so disfiguring.
Her upper gum is destroyed.
Part of her nose has been eaten away.
Her entire check is missing.
You can see straight through to her mouth.
It is not a pretty sight.
It is heartbreaking.
But she is a fighter..

While cleaning out her cavity she was crying.
I tried to calm her down but understandably she was not happy.
Fortunately once the area was cleaned and covered she was alright.
She was even humming along as I took some more pictures.
And she agreed that we were still friends.
Meanwhile mother also agreed to let us pray for Namina.

I will see Namina again on Friday for follow-up.
This will be an ongoing process for some time.
My mission is to get this infection under control.
My hope is that surgery will be possible for her next year.
My desire is to be used to help this family in various practical ways.
My prayer is that God will transform inwardly the lives of Namina and her mother.
My request is that you join me in prayer for healing and restoration for Namina's body.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You did it again, yo made me cry
I will join you in prayer for thsi little one
liefs mama

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~