MSF 'Doctors Without Borders' Letter | Tarem Services- cleaning co

MSF 'Doctors Without Borders' Letter

 A letter from MSF

My name is Anna; I am a paediatric registrar from Bath, Somerset. I chose to work for MSF after watching those all too familiar and yet horrific scenes of famine, floods, war and disease broadcast so regularly on television.

Seeing people in desperate need of help is heartbreaking, but MSF strives to provide quality healthcare, free of charge, to people in need, whatever the setting. I have recently returned from working with MSF in Liberia, West Africa.

I wanted to pass on the thanks of the children and families I worked with. Your amazing donation of £547.50 received from your Tarem Services virgin money giving page enables so many stories to have a happy ending. I would like to share one of these stories with you.

Gbeli was born in rural Liberia during the civil war.

During times of conflict, each day passes to the next with only survival in mind. Gbeli was probably seven years old but he had never celebrated a birthday, he had barely enough to eat and had never been to school.

When I first met Gbeli he had lockjaw, a stiff neck and was suffering from episodes of painful muscle spasms lasting several minutes, causing his body to contort while he remained entirely conscious. I saw terrible fear in his eyes as he was becoming weaker and weaker.

His grandmother had walked for two days, carrying Gbeli on her back, to get to our hospital in the hope we might be able to help. Two weeks earlier he had stood on a rusty nail. Gbeli had never had any immunisations or primary healthcare which meant the tetanus toxin was free to rampage through his body. Without specific and intensive treatment, Gbeli would undoubtedly die.

Treating tetanus infection requires a long period of intensive care followed by rehabilitation; the muscle spasms can continue for many days and can leave permanent disability. Gbeli was transferred to our paediatric intensive care unit where he could be sedated, receive treatment – including the antidote and muscle relaxants – and be carefully nursed. I would visit him twice a day, his grandmother always at his bedside.

It took time, but gradually he became stronger. Before long he could even manage a smile. Five weeks later Gbeli could be seen trying to walk and exercise all around the hospital, giving all the staff the thumbs up and a cheeky grin as he passed by. The fear I had seen in his eyes on that first day had gone and been replaced by laughter.

He was a happy boy whose smile matched that of his grandmother – the same grandmother who was overwhelmed that his life-saving treatment was available to them for free, thanks to people like you who support MSF.

After six weeks Gbeli was strong enough to return home. His grandmother cried with relief, hugged us all, held my hand and asked me to thank all the people who had saved her grandson’s life.

Thank you to you and all at Tarem Services for your life-saving support.

Dr Anna Kilonbackbest