Photo: Patients queue for medical attention outside an MSF tent at a mobile health clinic and ambulatory therapeutic feeding center in a camp for people displaced by the floods in Dera Murad Jamali. Pakistan 2012 © Fathema Murtaza
Voices From the Field: “There Are Thousands of Families Who Lost Their Homes Because of the Floods”
Amina*, mother to a one-month-old baby boy, shares her story on how her child came to be admitted to MSF’s hospital in Dera Murad Jamali. Her son was brought to the MSF nursery when he was 10 days old; weighing only 2.36 kilograms [about five pounds] he was diagnosed with tetanus.
“I have been married for two years; this little boy is my first child. I haven’t named him yet—I was not sure if he would survive. I like the name Yaseen, maybe that will be his name.
We have no shade, no home or land; we live on the side of the road and use our beds as a tent. I delivered him under a makeshift tent near the Pat Feeder Canal. There are thousands of families who lost their homes because of the floods and are now living there too.
My husband, Saeed*, used to work on our landlord’s land. But the water came; it was shoulder high and we lost everything, even the food we had stored is lost.
Our landlord came down from Karachi to ensure the water was drained from his land so we could return to it. We don’t have anything to rebuild with and the landlord gave us nothing. He has gone back to Karachi. We are still hopeful that we will get some help.
When my son got sick, I pawned my earrings because we had nothing left to pay the doctors, however, when we came to the hospital here, we were told the treatment in the hospital is free! So, I used the money from the earrings to buy food for our family instead. It’s been a month since I sold my earrings, and now even the food is gone.
A few days after my son was born, he started having fits and had a temperature. We went to a private clinic where they said they couldn’t help us, but told us that we should take our son to the MSF hospital because they have a lot of facilities. So we brought him here. My son has been here for 25 days now.
Before I brought my son to the hospital he was not drinking any milk; he wasn’t even able to cry. He is my first child. I worry about him—and wonder if he will survive. We had thought about taking him from the hospital and going home because we didn’t see an immediate change in his health at first.Now, though, he opens his eyes. The nurses have explained that my son can be treated and can now slowly start to feed.
Change has happened. My son is better. Now we are going to be patient and let the medical staff tell us when our son is ready to leave. I am very relieved and happy to see my son getting better. When I am able to take him home, I plan to celebrate by providing food to people who are poor and less fortunate than my family and me. We may not have anything, but at least we have our son. ‘Only Allah can help us now.’
We are glad we were able to access such good health care, and we know that it has saved our son.
*Names have been changed to protect patient’s anonymity.