On Thursday I received a phone call from a mission hospital in the village. There was a young mother of 17 years old who was brought into the hospital with a small baby. The mother was tested HIV+ and was started on ARV medication. The father was not seen, and the grandmother tried to care for her daughter and her grandson. The baby is called Richard and he is almost 5 months old, and his weight was only 1.9 kg. His mother had no breast feeding and the baby is now severely malnourished. The mother was also sick and very weak.
We (Andrew, Pius and me) drove the next day to the village to see the baby and to talk with the mother and the grandmother. I took a bottle with formula milk with me and tried to feed the baby. He was hungry, but it was hard for him to suckle. The mother agreed to give her baby to me and we drove back to Soroti. I had called from the village to the children HIV clinic if I still could come for a blood test (it was Friday) and we went straight to Soroti hospital. There they took blood and promised to bring it directly to the lab and to call me with the result. In Amecet we gave him a bath, dressed him and fed him. We feed him baby formula every two hours, day and night.. A couple of hours later they called me from the hospital that Richard was HIV-. That was so good, we were very happy with that result. We had taken Richard to the Doctor next door and they prescribed IV medication, but also IV fluids, because Richard was dehydrated. It was not easy to find a vein, he was so tiny, and the veins rolled away when you pricked in them. But our nurse succeeded and he went on drip..
After 3 days, we decided that we would give him a NG tube, because he wants to drink, but he is too weak to drink enough milk. So we first feed him by mouth and when he stops, we give the rest by NG tube. We want him to develop his sucking reflex..
Then on Monday another baby was brought, this time a little girl, she was referred by a Doctor who works in rural clinics. This little girl was a little bit older, 5 months and 3 weeks old, her weight was 3.5 kg. Also severely malnourished, but you can see the difference when you compare her with Richard. The bay is called Mary Gorretti and her mother really loved her so much. She found it difficult to leave her behind, but the little girl needs help, her hair is almost blond, because of malnutrition. I felt for the mother and I took her inside to show where Mary will be sleeping and that helped a bit. The next day she called how Mary was doing... She will be coming to visit her... Mary was tested and has a bad malaria, she is treated with IV medicines, but cries a lot. She misses her mother and everything is so new to her, but today it goes better and both of the babies have gained a little bit of weight.. Richard gained 160 grams and Mary gained 70 grams. we go with very small steps, but.......every step is important!!
I'll end with a beautiful picture of beautiful smile of Richard. This gives us hope, to see a smile... We have even see already a smile on Mary, but I was too late to catch it with my camera.. There is Hope for children like Richard and Mary Gorretti and it helps us so much when we get a smile sometimes...