Hope for a Difficult Problem

July 12, 2009

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Written by Dr. Joe Markee:

One of the most difficult problems we face is the persistent chronic starvation in our patients following the disastrous four hurricanes in August and September 2008. Particularly vulnerable are children, especially those under the age of 5.

As we left the country last month, we stopped by the Sisters of Charity Sanitarium, located a few miles north of Gonaives. While their focus is treatment of tuberculosis, we saw children who were also starving, so weak they could hardly hold their heads up. Fortunately, the Sisters were supplying all the children with “Medika Mamba” (medical peanut butter) in an effort to salvage the severely ill children. This is a major medical breakthrough in treating this potentially deadly disorder.

Thanks to Dr. Dave Polage (Westminster Presbyterian Church, Yakima, Wash.) the Clinic of Hope is also involved with this treatment of children who are at risk. Dave is the “Medika Mamba” director in the Terre Blanche area.

Recently, one of the newly trained community health workers in the area found 32 at-risk children for possible treatment. The children continue to return to the clinic each week for ongoing treatment. Today there is more reason for hope, instead of despair, in this Clinic of Hope.

Photo: Some of the 32 kids receiving Medika Mamba at the Clinic of Hope wait for their turn to be weighed.

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