Friday, September 26, 2014

A Future with a Promise and a Smile

Sometimes, Sauti Moja staff discover situations of despair that fall outside usual programming. Baby Christine was one of those cases. During a 2013 visit to a remote Rendille village, an anxious mother introduced her baby, who was suffering with a cleft palate. At a quick glance, one could easily see that her 16 month old baby was malnourished due to inability to nurse and eat well.
The day Sauti Moja was first introduced to Baby Christine and her
 Mama while visiting a remote village in Marsabit County.
Baby Christine at 16 months of age, malnourished due
to her inability to nurse and eat well.

In response, Lucia, Sauti Moja’s Family Health Coordinator, organized for the baby to attend a health clinic where she learned that, in addition to being malnourished, Christine had a lung infection.  At this time, we also contacted Operation Smile Kenya to enquire about surgery, but learned that surgery would not be possible in Christine’s fragile state. 
Little Christine, just a few weeks after cleft palate surgery.

Fortunately, the local Sisters of Charity agreed to take Christine into their care, and supported by Christine’s mother, built up her nutritional intake with a traditional diet plus ‘plumpy nuts’, a well-known nutritional supplement used in cases of severe malnutrition. Over the next few months, Christine did grow stronger, but not before also having to recover from Chicken Pox. 

Operation Smile finally approved Christine’s surgery, and Sauti Moja worked on the logistics for support, travel and accommodation. They identified a Rendille nurse who would accompany them on their journey to Nairobi, as a woman from a remote village would not know how to get there, travel within town, find a place to stay and eat, etc. This was a big trip for Mama and child!

On August 16th, Christine’s surgery proceeded as planned, and Operation Smile, together with Sauti Moja and Sisters of Charity, gave baby Christine a future with a promise and a smile.

Mama and her little girl, Christine, now looking toward a future with a promise and a smile.

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