First days in Mali with MSF to document their Malaria programme.
I have no idea what to expect visually, even after the briefing in Bamako or the documentation I gathered before my leave. With just 2 days in the region we will be rushing from one location to another. Malaria is the number 1 killer of children in Africa, killing some 3,000 per day.
06 Oct. 2005 – 09:50 : Kangaba, 70 kms south of Bamako near the Guinean border in the reference health center. I am told this is the children’s room of this hospital caring for a population of 96,000. I count four beds, three of them occupied by infants with very bad malaria.
After the consultation, the meds leave the room, I stand here alone with the infants and their relatives. The grand mother in front of me probably stays here all day watching over her grand daughter. We have very little means of communication, but I timidly ask for a photo and she blinks her eyes in agreement. As I start shooting 3 visiting brothers peek silently behind me and slip on the empty bed.
06 Oct. 2005 – 10:36 : The local health center in Kangaba, in the doctor’s office, one of the many consultations of the morning. A child is brought in for a fever, the symptoms of malaria seem identified. The paracheck test will infirm the diagnostic 20 minutes later excluding any form of malaria: it is the only negative paracheck I will witness during my stay.
06 Oct. 2005 – 13:04 : Another drive on dusty tracks and we reach Karan our second health center. There are no permanent doctors here, only nurses.
Two truck batteries powering the radio transmitter seem to be the main equipment together with the pen, the ruler and the register. The boy looks afflicted, lost in an absent stare.
Karan – paracheck
06 Oct. 2005 – 13:14 : The nurse takes the boy to another room for a paracheck . The results will come in 15 minutes later : positive. If it is not too bad he will be sent home with a 3 day treatment based on ACT, else he will be sent to Kangaba to get a stronger treatment. That is if he can afford the trip, most people here could not afford it at all.
Kids of Karan
06 Oct. 2005 – 15:55 : Kids of Karan on their way home from school. That is what I thought, but the school is closed because an NGO (Non-governmental organization) has stopped funding education and there are no free notebooks or pencils this year.
07 Oct. 2005 – 10:04 : Same room as the first day pano.
The grand-mother is still here, her grand-daughter is recovering quickly.
Another kid just arrived in a bad condition, the paramedics are putting him on perfusion under the surveillance of an MSF doctor.
07 Oct. 2005 – 12:09 : It has been raining through the roof here not long ago.
Twelve positive parachecks lay already on the table this morning. All children’s.
07 Oct. 2005 – 12:23 : Outside, more people are waiting.
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