While walking to the ship yesterday evening a mother stopped me on the road.
"Can you help my child?"
I asked to see the child.
She pulled a wasted 2-year old off of her back and said "here".
The child was obviously malnourished and quite pale.
He was not an emergency case, but I definitely wanted him seen sooner rather than later.
I asked why she had not yet taken him to the hospital.
Apparently she only arrived from upcountry the previous day.
I urged her to go to the hospital right away, but she was hesitant.
She was afraid she would be turned away.
I tried to convince her to go, but she still didn't budge.
Meanwhile little Abubakar stretched out his arms for me to pick him up.
My heart melted.
I called the 0n-call doctor and asked if he could make sure to see a child I was sending over.
He agreed right away.
So, mom went one way with her child, I went another way.
At 9 pm I was back at the hospital and ventured over to the feeding centre.
Sure enough, Abubakar was admitted.
He weighs 6.5 kilograms.
He had been clerked in by the doctor and put on treatment.
Lab work was done revealing a very low hemoglobin and need for blood.
As I sat next to his bed, he again stretched out his arms.
So, this time I sat him up and held him close to me.
I think he just wanted to be comforted.
As he was pressed up against me I could feel he was breathing really fast.
He likely has tuberculosis.
I could only hope this child will survive.
I'm hoping to see him again this morning.
And hope for the opportunity to talk to his mother a bit more.
She too will need some comforting and encouragement.
More about Abubakar later in the week...