The baby’s foot was injured. The mother had stabilized the little foot with a piece of cardboard from a food package and a dirty cloth. The sight of this hit me. I felt this enormous empathy for the woman who did all she could to help her baby with the small resources she has.
When they attacked, I was outside my compound. I started running, but I was pregnant so did not run fast enough. [The attackers] caught up with me and beat me on the head and I fell down. When I was on the ground, they opened my stomach with knives and my baby fell out. I was eight months pregnant. I have one other child in the hospital. They kicked the head of my child. She was suffering a lot, but now the child has been in the MSF hospital and is better.
17-year-old female patient from Wek (Uror county), treated in Nasir (Upper Nile state), March 2012
Ongoing violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei state has had a devastating impact on tens of thousands of people, with many forcibly displaced and further cut off from health care due to the destruction of medical facilities. A new MSF report contains harrowing accounts of civilians caught up in attacks on villages.
So I was looking forward to the free movies on the flight from Kigali and Amsterdam. At midnight, there was a call for a doctor as a woman was in labour…
After being served numerous rounds of tea, one of the nutritional surveyors brought forth a father carrying his tiny child – a baby of 4 weeks, who had been sick with diarrhea for one week, and now looked like an emaciated bird. The father sat on the edge of the pink frilly mattress, and cried while I asked questions about the baby’s illness. The father, speaking fluent French, described how days earlier he had walked 4 hours each way with the baby in search of help from the nearest health centre. The health centre had been closed, and he had returned home with the baby.
HIV in infants born to HIV-positive mothers is a big problem in the developing world. There are around 2 million HIV-positive children in developing countries, whereas in the United Kingdom, for example, there are just 70. So, we’ve almost got rid of this problem in the West, but in the developing world it’s a big problem.