Remember the boy with malaria, the one I wrapped in my jacket and took to the clinic? Well,his name is Gilbert, and I count 3 times this year that he has been treated for malaria. I recall one time when he even went into convulsions!
A few weeks ago I discovered that 7 year old Gilbert was once again feeling quite ill and as I checked his eyes and noticed his pallor, suspected anemia (here they call it having no blood) and once again we visited the clinic in Chambishi. This time, he was sent immediately to Kitwe Central Hospital. Parasites, carrying malaria, were invading and destroying his red blood cells, causing anemia. With his hemoglobin count at 6.1 (normal is 16!), in a developed country he would likely have received a blood transfusion. In Zambia, if your blood type is available, they transfuse at 5 or below.
So Gilbert didn’t receive a transfusion, but the nurse directed me to a chemist (pharmacy) and a product designed to boost hemoglobin, also recommending that I purchase some fresh fruit, juice and milk available from vendors set up outside the hospital gates, in an area where they also make and display coffins. If you think the food in Canadian hospitals is bad… That done, I needed to collect a care giver so we journeyed back to Mbayi for his father. When you are hospitalized in Zambia someone has to stay with you 24/7.
I’m happy to report that Gilbert made a good recovery and is home and back to school. Not surprisingly, this brought back vivid memories of a similar experience. That time it was Emmanuel I accompanied to the hospital and the outcome, sadly, was different. In Emmanuel’s case I returned to KCH bringing his family to prepare his body for burial, and transported the tiny coffin to be placed in a grave surrounded by many similar plots with baby bottles placed atop fresh mounds of earth. As I’ve mentioned before, many children in Zambia die from diseases that could be successfully treated or even prevented, innocent victims of poverty.
I thank all you contributors. Your donated dollars make it possible for me to transport the sick to clinics and hospitals, purchase medication and food, and yes, sometimes to even assist in saving lives. Your generosity and kindness is much appreciated. God bless you!