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Just like children everywhere, nine-year-old Djelika loves to play with her friends and climb trees. She lives in a remote West African village in Niger, one of the world’s poorest and least developed nations.
On the day Djelika chose to climb especially high in a tree, she was about to need some very good luck and great health care – in the form of the life-saving presence of a kind nurse, a volunteer doctor and the AmeriCares Medical Outreach Program.
AmeriCares Medical Outreach Program supplies medicines and surgical supplies to U.S.-based doctors and teams who travel overseas to provide volunteer medical care to people in desperate need. Dr. Gary Roark, a member of CURE International, had received a medical donation from AmeriCares for his recent trip to West Africa. CURE builds and runs hospitals in the developing world for the healing of children with disabilities and deformities.
When a village woman called to Djelika to come down from the tree, Djelika playfully danced further out on the limb, lost her balance and fell to the ground, severely breaking her left leg. With little access to primary health care, village healers did their best at first to bind her leg and set her bones. They were not successful in treating such a bad injury. The severity of the break and the tight binding led to many days of pain and an infection.
At this critical point, a local nurse saw how serious the infection had become. Hoping to save Djelika’s leg, the kind nurse brought her to the CURE International Hopital des Enfants au Niger where Dr. Roark was visiting for help. Receiving donated medical supplies from AmeriCares, Djelika underwent the first of several surgeries to begin repair of her calf muscles, tendons and nerves. She now comes to the CURE hospital for daily dressing changes and may have to undergo skin grafting and tendon transfers to provide her with a functional leg.
“Thank you, AmeriCares, for making possible the treatments and surgeries for this little girl. Your compassionate care and generous donations are greatly needed in Niger. We are delighted to be able to use these donated medicines and supplies to bring healing to one of the least developed nations in the world,” said Dr. Roark.
Through this program, donated medicines and medical supplies from AmeriCares reach impoverished and isolated communities where even basic medical care is often non-existent. The Medical Outreach teams are supplied with medications to treat pain, fever, chronic diseases and malnutrition that often go untreated. For the many surgical teams, AmeriCares provides anesthesia, syringes and a wide range of surgical products.
In 2010, AmeriCares provided nearly $62 million worth of critical medicines and supplies to 1,061 teams traveling to 71 countries, and also supported charitable orthopedic surgeries in the U.S. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti last year, AmeriCares supplied more than 200 medical teams traveling there to treat survivors.