Tags / Medicine
Dr Amirtha visits Vimala, 75, who has been bed ridden for the last five years and suffers from hypertension. Vimala is classed as being âBPLâ (Below the Poverty Line) by the government and sleeps directly on a hard wooden board on her bed in a house made of breeze blocks and mud. Her husband passed away and she is looked after by her daughter-in-law Syamela, 45, and a neighbour who visits her regularly. When the team visited Vimala, she was very disorientated and largely unable to communicate. When Dr Amirtha asked if she remembered her name, Vimala responded, âYes, I doâ.
10 year old Ammar suffers from neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer that develops in infants and young children. Ammar lives with his family in the opposition-held area of Douma, in Eastern Ghouta. The residents of Eastern Ghouta have been surviving under extremely hard living conditions due to the ongoing siege imposed by the Assad regime's forces over the past two years.
In Dar al-Rahma, the only active cancer center operating in Eastern Ghouta, Dr. Wissam says that Ammar suffered sever emotional trauma, which was the primary cause of his neuroblastoma.
Ammar’s mother remembers when, nearly 3 years ago, heavy clashes and shelling erupted in the neighborhood where they reside. The clashes lasted for three hours and severely terrified Ammar. Since then the boy had suffered from fever and continuous sickness.
Dr. Wissam also stressed that with very little resources, Dar al-Rahma center is currently treating about 600 patients suffering from different types of cancer with an 11% death-rate.
Unfortunately, Transterra Media received a message on the night of Saturday, June 13, 2015 announcing the death of Ammar.
- (02:27) Um Ammar, Ammar’s mother (woman, Arabic):
Ammar was sitting at the balcony when shelling and clashes erupted, he was extremely terrified, since then he suffered from continuous fever and sickness. We took him to the doctor who examined him and found out that he has neuroblastoma. It’s a rare disease that infects one out of every 10,00 children, and the reason is emotional trauma. (02:50)
(02:51) Given that the area is besieged, how are you receiving Ammar’s medications? (02:58)
(02:58) The doctor gets part of them, but we were responsible to get the rest. There are also some medical tests that the doctor asks us to do, but we cannot send it for analysis in Damascus. This is an additional reason why his situation is relapsing, not being able to deliver the medical tests to Damascus. This made his recovery take more time. This led [Ammar] to loose his sight. We are hoping, but we don’t think he could get any better now (03:38).
(03:40) Under the siege, should Ammar follow a specific diet program? (03:45).
(03:46) The doctor says that half of the treatment is done through his diet program. Alhamdulillah we are doing all what we can. We cannot do anything more. Yes, he should follow a specific diet program, unlike other children (04:02).
- Doctor Wissam, Doctor specialized in cancer diseases (woman, Arabic):
(04:24) At first, Ammar was diagnosed after he was suffered from a shock. He suffered from continuous sweating and fever, and he was later diagnosed with neuroblastoma. He started with this treatment and then had to stop it at the (name of the previous hospital) where he had already started the treatment, and came to continue the treatment here. When he got here, he was already in the recovery stage, but unfortunately, within two months, his situation relapsed dramatically due to a psychological trauma. We had to start a new treatment phase. One of the reasons why his treatment was delayed was the lack of the MRI Scanners. In addition of the lack of the medications, either because a delay in the supply or because of the hard situation to get the medications in Ghouta, we are trying at the moment to stay in contact with international organizations such as the Red Crescent or other organizations responsible for swelling diseases, perhaps Ammar has any chance [by getting the medications inside Ghouta]. (05:32).
(05:33) What are the efforts that this medical centre is doing under the siege? (05:40).
(05:41) At the moment we have more than 600 persons who are documented of having swelling diseases that are under treatment, and a percentage of 30% of recovery, and 10.5% of deaths. We are trying to give them the medications as much as possible, but we are facing some difficulties in doing so. The besiege and the diet factor are playing a negative role in the process, because it is known that the cancer patient needs a specific food diet program so that his body can bear the medications he is receiving. In addition of course to the negative psychological factor (06:22).
- Heba, Nurse (woman, Arabic):
(08:16) Here’s a breast eradication with part of the other breast and some parts of the armpit.. we take samples of the armpit and sample of the breast to check how bad is the infection, we record it and we send it for the lab analysis.
- Abu Khaled, Managing Director of Dar al-Rahma center (man, Arabic):
(08:29) Sometimes the patient comes and take the dose of the medications to make the swelling smaller. We are sometimes in need of a surgery, but unfortunately, most of the medical centers that do these surgeries stopped their operations. The reason is because their efforts are put only for the injured people. This reason sometimes plays a negative role in the recovery of the patients, because the patients who are not getting this surgery have their situation relapsed.
The Donetsk Psychiatric Hospital number 1 is located in the district of Petrovsky, close to one of the frontlines in the armed conflict between Pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces that surround the city of Donetsk.
In early December the building came under artillery fire, and many of the windows have been damaged. The clinic is now dealing with cold winter temperatures, down to -25°C, and with shortages of food and medicine.
Doctors in the hospital not only check on the patients’ mental conditions; they are constantly working alongside patients and staff to heat the hospital, making sure no one is exposed to the severe cold. Empty rooms are filled with dry wood, and patients and staff alike work round the clock chopping wood and feeding fires.
The current situation is dramatic, as the administration does not have funds to repair the infrastructure and relies on donations from the church or private citizens. Many of the patients do not have the option to leave; some face too serious complications, while others do not have any relatives that can take care of them.
The ceasefire that started on December 9th has recently collapsed, and fighting has resumed between the two sides. Grad rockets and mortar shells are again falling close to the hospital and the people living inside.
FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE
Audio report by Sheriff Bojang Jr.
Ebola has been spreading in the three affected West African countries: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. And the last hope of every Ebola patient lies in an isolation unit or treatment center.
Inside this Ebola treatment center, Gabriel shows his Body Management team of five the tricks of dead body collection and handling.
Gabriel: “If the family members want to see the face of the victim, they can just open [the body bag] like this…”
A young girl inside the high risk area has just died and Gabriel must remind his colleagues of their responsibilities before they go in to collect the body.
Gabriel: “I work as the dead body manager, so I’m responsible for bagging the bodies and taking them to the morgue. Body bags are just standard practice. Whenever we go in to do our work, we have to practice it first, because we don’t want to go in there to start looking for someone and say ‘Oh we forgot this…’”
This center was opened by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to complement efforts to curb the Ebola virus. Tina Saragoski is the manager.
Tina Saragoski: “We have opened the center the 13th of September. Before that, it took one month to build the center up. The first patients arrived on the 13th. Ever since, we have slowly started to take in patients, and at the moment we have eighteen inpatients with us here at the center.”
What is particularly interesting about this center is the fact that out of the 127 staff, about 109 are Sierra Leoneans. Most of them are young men and women who could have gone for exciting jobs or even sat at home and stayed away from anything that has to do with Ebola. But they are here on a daily basis doing different works to help save lives.
Hygienist: “I am a hygienist. My responsibility here is to make sure that the surrounding environment of the patients is well cleaned, and to keep it tidy. Every day I come here and make sure that I go in there [the isolation unit] to collect all the waste, especially body fluids. If there is a dead body, then the fluid that remains, I should also make sure the fluids are well collected to put them into the waste box.”
Nurse: “I administer medication and cells of the patients, normally to take care of the patients in the ward. We talk to them, encourage them to hope… to give them hope.”
Sound of dressing…
Inside a plastic tent, three volunteers are getting set to go into the high risk area to treat the patients. These young volunteers are being dressed in yellow protective suits made of woven plastic fiber. This is one of the trickiest processes here and there cannot be any mistake in protecting these people from exposure to the virus. I can see this young man breathing heavily in his gear.
Reporter SOT: “How are you feeling right now?”
Isolation unit worker: “It’s getting hot, little by little.”
Reporter SOT: “And where are you going now?”
Isolation unit worker: “I’m going to the high risk area. We’ll spend approximately five minutes inside.”
Reporter SOT: “It’s very hot. How do you feel?”
Isolation unit worker: “I’m getting hot right now.”
Reporter SOT: “How about with safety? Are you comfortable?”
Isolation unit worker: “This is correct with safety. It’s 100% safe.”
Reporter SOT: “And you don’t feel afraid?”
Isolation unit worker: “No, no.”
Young men and women working in treatment centers like this one are the frontline combatants fighting Ebola and no one can come as close to danger as them. But despite the potential risks, they’re determined to be here.
Treatment center worker 1: “As you can see, we always do live practice before we go in there, and when were inside, we’re well protected and comfortable to be here.”
Nurse: “As long as I’m here to protect lives, I’m ok. I promise to work with the Sierra Leone Red Cross until I see the end of this Ebola. I’m going to fight against Ebola.”
In Sierra Leone, there are lot of rumors, myths and misconceptions surrounding Ebola. But the biggest Ebola enemy is fear. And because of the fear of contracting the virus, these local volunteers face discrimination in their own communities.
Isolation unit worker: “As far as they know that you are working in an Ebola case management center, they will be going away from you - they said to not become infected. But we are doing this to save the lives of our brothers and sisters.”
Nurse: “I came from Freetown. I have to relatives here, and even when I came to rent in different houses, they refused because I’m working in the Ebola center.”
Hygienist: “I’m not disclosing what I’m doing to my family, so I have to hide it away from them; because if they know what I’m doing, it won’t go down well with them.”
While I was on the ground in the Kenema treatment center, news came that an eleven-year-old patient from Freetown had successfully gone through treatment and would be discharged the next day. She would be the first discharged patient from this center, but with the determination and resilient of the staff like these young locals, many more success stories are expected to come out from here in the coming weeks and months.
40 year old Maryam has suffered from a severe lung disease her whole life and had been waiting a long time for a lung donor. The family of young man who became critically brain damaged after an accident, decided to donate his vital organs, in accordance with his wishes. Maryam was given his lungs. Now it has been a while since Maryam underwent the surgery and is slowly getting back to normal life. She visits the grave of the man who’s death gave her life.
Immigrants, most of them from Bangladesh, work as strawberry pickers in the fields of Nea Manolada, one of the main areas of strawberry cultivation in Greece. The working and living conditions are shocking. They are forced to work from dusk till dawn, with little or no money and no health care and insurance. More than 20 people live together in structures made of plastic sheets; they lack even basic sanitation and have only a hose for running water.
On Sunday 20 July, 2014 the organization "Solidarity for All" organized a visit to their camp in order to supply food and medicine and do health checks and provide aid where needed.
In Gaza, hospitals are suffering from a serious lack of medicine and medical equipment. As Israel bombs the Gaza strip, doctors and nurses from al-Shifa hospital treat the injured with the little equipment and medicine they can get their hands on. Gaza is still under an Israeli blockade.
1. Om Mohamed Ayash from Al Nosirat camp in the middle of Gaza
“I do not know what happened, they dropped a bomb next to the house, and two died, and my son got injured, I do not know what happened”
“How old is your son?” “He is eighteen years old”
“Where do you live?”
Did they drop the bomb on your house or your neighbour’s house?
“They dropped it next to the house, on the ground”
“Two of my neighbours died. The house that got bombed is next to her house, two of her neighbours died and her son got severely injured, and they brought him to the hospital, I hope he gets well”.
“She is my daughter, her last name is Ayyach. Her son got injured and they brought him to the hospital. They bombed the house next to theirs and his injury is serious, his entire body was injured, and now he is in surgery.”
Doctor Ashraf Aqedra - Spokesman of the Health Ministry
“The number of martyrs received here at the hospital in Gaza over the last three days has reached 28. The last of them was just now when a child from al-Shaaf area, Mohamad Bou Ghreib, died. He was 13 years old. There have also been over 250 injuries in Gaza. The cases vary from small to medium to extremely severe but we treated them all according to the ability of Ghaza hospitals. The severity of damage and injuries that are occurring clearly indicates that the weapons used by Israel are untraditional and definitely internationally banned and this requires the international community to act.” “Now we are at risk, due to a 30% lack in medical supplies, and 55% of medical equipment, especially the equipment used in emergencies, intensive care and surgery.” “We might not be able to provide medical services over the next few days and the health department is going to witness many problems if we do not receive medical aid from the concerned parties, especially the Red Cross, the UN, and all other humanity related organizations."
A man from Al Dohar family who had their house bombed by Israeli jets in Al Shejaeia neighborhood
“We were sitting and suddenly a missile dropped on us. 7 houses were destroyed, all full of children, women and the elderly. We took them to hospital but there are no medications or equipment to treat them, or even treat the children.” “Where are all the Arab countries? Where are all the people with conscience? Aren’t they watching people dying everyday? Nobody cares about us.” “Abu Mazen yesterday did an interview with an Israeli. Their children are precious and ours are not precious? They die everyday on the streets. Where are the presidents and the countries? Where are the Muslims?
Here is a martyr child just as we speak, look.”
Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
After experiencing the deadliest war since World War 2, healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo is in disarray and millions of people are relying on shamans and spiritual healers to treat their physical and psychological disorders. The absence of infrastructure and health care facilities, combined with a lack of faith in western-style medical treatment, means that most patients go to local shamans or radical Christian ‘houses of prayer’ instead of hospitals. Many of these ‘traditional’ health practitioners believe that mental and physical disorders are the result of witchcraft or demonic possession, and thus condone the use of highly unorthodox methods to ‘extract’ the illness or 'demon'. In the DRC, western-style health institutions are regarded only as a last-ditch solution. This attitude has only exacerbated the endemic and led to many deaths from treatable diseases.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Minister Moise Munyuabumba runs the 8th CEPAC Galilaya Church, a 'house of prayer', which belongs to the Pentecostal movement. Pentecolism is a form of Christianity that emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit and the direct experience of the presence of God by the believer. Minister Munyuabumba has been using religion to try and heal the mental and physical disorders of the people who come to his church.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Here Minister Moise Munyuabumba is giving a sermon at the house of prayer. Every saturday people come to him in the hope of being healed. They believe in divine healing through prayer and consider all illness a consequence of the sin of man.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Minister Munyuabumba tries to treat Beat Mekarubamba, who has breast cancer. The Minister says she has cancer because she is the second wife of a polygamist and that she will only be healed if she accepts her sin.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. This is Lwanda Binwa, a regular at the 8th Cepac Galilaya Church. She began to have prophetic visions about Beat Mekarubamba, the woman with breast cancer (previous picture). She went into a trance and was making prophecies for around 15 minutes.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Men pray at Minister Munyuabumba's church.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Nyota Kanyere says that thanks to Minister Moise Munyuabumba, she was cured of madness.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Isaac Rwanamiza is a traditional healer from the Bakumu tribe. These shamanic healers are recognized by the Congolese Government and supported by the Ministry of Health.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Mark Ndibakunri is 11 years old and has elephantiasis. According to local healer Isaac Rwanamiza, this is because Mark stepped on a branch that had a spell on it. On the bed are various objects used in the healing process.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Isaac Rwanamiza treats 11-year-old Elephantiasis patient Mark Ndibakunri by “removing” the bad spirits through his totem. According to Isaac, evil spirits are the cause of the Elephantiasis from which the boy is suffering. Isaac sees many patients daily and can charge up to $70 per session. Healers are well respected within their communities and have the blessing of local authorities.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Here Isaac is performing another spell on Mark to remove the elephantiasis. He did not say what the bottle was for, but the twine tied around the legs is meant to “trap” the illness and avoid it spreading around the body.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Dr. Moise Mbusa is the head doctor at 'Tulizo Letu', or 'Our Comfort', a mental health hospital run by the Brothers of Charity. He is the only properly trained doctor working at the institution. All patients must be seen by him and, if medication is needed, he is the one who prescribes it. Some are required to take medication in order to live. Difficulties arise in remote areas because many are forced to travel long distances by foot just to get their medication, and this can compromise their treatment.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Electroencephalography (EGG) enables the detection of epilepsy and other brain-related injuries. Patients come and sit with sensory pads attached to their heads for around ten minutes, while a specialist monitors their brain activity. In this case this girl was fine. She had come in with her parents for an epilepsy check but was not a patient of the hospital.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Kome Katenga is a patient of the 'Tulizo Letu' mental institution. He joined the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL) in the first Congo War when he was just 16. Led by Laurent Kabila, the ADFL was known for its brutality and the recruitment of child soldiers. In 2002, Kome started drinking. He has been admitted into mental institutions seven times since.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. A feeling of insecurity often increases the effects of mental health disorders. Despite the effort made by international and local NGOs, Western-style psychotherapy and psychiatric treatments are virtually nonexistent in the DRC.
Goma, Norht Kivu, DRC. Deo Kakule is a paranoid schizophrenic. He burned his house down after the fighting forced his mother to leave. Deo is a patient 'Our Comfort'.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Ushindi was raped by her cousin when she was 14 years old. With over 1000 women raped every day, the DRC is known as the rape capital of the world. According to these numbers, up to 39% of the population could have suffered sexual abuse at some point in their lives. Ushindi is a patient at 'Our Comfort'.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Abimana Lushombo suffers from epilepsy and is a patient at Our Comfort. The ongoing conflict impoverishes the region, creating unemployment that drags Goma´s youth to drug and alcohol abuse. Side effects may include seizures, depression, hallucinations or schizophrenia.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. A nurse at Our Care sorts through prescriptions. Mental illness, and the institutions that care for those who suffer from it, do not always get the same support as other health sectors. Institutions like the one run by the Brothers of Charity have to find way to support themselves through donations and their network in Europe.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. The woman in this picture is Mahombi Mungubijira suffers from schizophrenia. Her mother Charlotte (next picture) stays at the facility to care for her. Most families are not able to afford the costs of treatment. Cases like schizophrenia require close monitoring and cannot always be treated in the way they should. Because the facility is so low on staff, family members are always asked to help out with the care of their loved ones.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Charlottle Habanuwg (left) stays at the psychiatric facility to take care of her schizophrenic daughter Mahombi (right). Our Care does not have enough staff to take care of all the patients and so, when possible, family members like Charlotte stay and keep constant watch over their relatives.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Christine Kahindo was raped by five soldiers while on the way to her parents house. Most of these women are abandoned by their husbands after they are raped. The husbands think that their wives are culpable and consider them damaged goods. They are forced to leave their homes and end up in refugee camps. Christine is now a patient at Our Care.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Didier believes he was bewitched by someone close to him. Most Congolese, coming from rural areas, believe in demonic causes of mental illness. However, Didier's mental illness is being treated with western style medical care at Our Comfort.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Some patients like Deo arrive at the mental institution wearing leg-irons. These cases normally come from remote areas where there is no medical assistance. They are too dangerous to be left alone and sometimes the families resort to extreme measures to control them.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Jaqueline is a displaced refugee from the war and a resident at Our Comfort. She suffers from schizophrenia and does not know where her family is. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), by mid 2013, the ongoing armed conflict in the east has resulted in 2.6 million internally displaced refugees.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. 'L´École de Vie' is a school for mentally disabled children, run by the Brothers of Charity. Families who can afford it put their children in this institute, the only one of its kind in the region. As with adults, some children are dangerous and require constant surveillance.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. This is nine year old Aganze Dagano Levi having a kinesiotherapy session at the École de Vie. Kinesiotherapy is a specialized area of medicine in which exercise and movement are used as the primary form of rehabilitation. It´s his first year in this school. Random attacks from rebel groups create stressful situations for pregnant women that can damage the fetus permanently. This creates an increasing number of children born with mental and physical handicaps.
Goma, Norht Kivu. Mentally disabled children, like Siuzione, are known as “biwelele”, which means "useless idiots" in Swahili. They are rejected by society and sometimes ever their own families. Incapable of working or getting married, they become a burden on the community.
Goma, Norht Kivu. Mental illness keep rising in Eastern Congo. Modern medicine has to struggle with traditional healers and praying houses. Easily preventable or treatable diseases become more complicated to treat because of late diagnosis.
Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Lack of infrastructure makes the treatment of mental illness incredibly difficult. North Kivu, an unstable region since 1994, only has one psychiatric facility that runs without government support.
Ireland is one of the last countries in which abortion is illegal in every form. This is a story about people living a moral issue that can make their life impossible.
Commenting on the oath of UOSSM Dr.Kabakibo says "When you see your sister raped, your best friend die in front of you or your neighbourhood destroyed, it is hard to bear this oath in mind. That's why it's crucial to insist on its values every day." Here, the doctors learn how to take an injured person out of a car without worsening his state.
An old Syrian suffering from LUNG diseaseis now bedridden in Arsal's hospital. He lives in the Syrian camp of the city, among thousands of refugees. A cold wind sweeps the Bekaa valley and announces a hard winter for the Syrian families living in tents in the refugee camps of Lebanon.