Life-saving drugs are often too expensive

by Florian Klinner/RBU,  2010/11/30

A few days ago, humedica employee and the person responsible for the flood relief mission in Benin, Florian Klinner, travelled from Kaufbeuren to Cotonou on a monitoring visit with the purpose of making an assessment of the situation and planning and promoting further relief missions. Besides the professional challenges he faces there, his report also tells about how he personally is touched by the people in Benin and their dismal situation.

Florian Klinner has left his desk in Germany in order to travel to Benin and to plan further steps of the flood relief missions. Photo: humedica

“Our working day in Benin starts at shortly past seven. Unfortunately not immediately with treatments, since we still have to travel for three hours. But our minibus is loaded with drugs and the humedica team is ready to depart.

After a three hours drive over bad roads filled with potholes we reach today’s treatment location: Zangnanado in a distance of 75 kilometres. At our arrival, numerous patients are already waiting for us and they watch us curiously when we set up all we need for a day of treatments.

As the day progresses, we realise that fortunately not all of the 150 patients we have treated are suffering from serious diseases. But almost all of those waiting in the queue have a sad story to tell, and one of the stories about the current conditions in Benin makes me particularly sad:

Tehoukona, an eleven-year old girl, has recently contracted Malaria, which had already been diagnosed by the local doctor. However, her parents could not buy the necessary drugs, since they simply could not afford the life-saving medications. We have been told that many people have already died for the same reason – the drugs are too expensive.

After examining the girl, our medical team members, all of whom have travelled to Benin on an honorary mission during their holidays, confirm the diagnosis and give the girl the drugs she needss to survive. We could help her, but in this country there are uncountable other people who find themselves in the same terrible situation like Tehoukona and unfortunately we cannot reach all of them.

All that counts

Being faced with fates like the one of the young girl Tehoukona makes me think. Last year I bought a TV, a new mobile phone, a car and many other things. The pleasure these new things caused me in the beginning mostly faded after some days. And as soon as it had faded, I already started thinking about other things I could buy.

Beyond price: we could save little Tehoukona just in time. Photo: humedica/Florian Klinner

On one of our treatment days, we treated patients at a school. There we met a lot of children suffering from diseases we hardly know in Germany. Thanks to the excellent hygienic conditions and the adequate medical care prevailing in our country, these diseases do simply not exist anymore. However, this cannot be said of many African countries.

The children and parents we treated that day had exactly three wishes they told us: they wanted to recover their health, have enough food and a bottle of water – even an empty one, which could then be used as toys by the children.

Next time I start thinking about buying something new, be it a mobile phone or a computer or whatever else, I will consciously remind myself of these wishes and contemplate if it really is so important to have one more thing lying around, which on top is completely overpriced.

Every single day

Also in the weeks to come, humedica and the current team in Benin headed by Dr matthias Gerhold, Dr Karin Herbst, Astrid de Kujer and Bernd Gisch, and further mission team members will offer basic medical care to the people in the African country.

Please support our work. Day by day we can see in our patients’ hopeful and in the end often smiling eyes how your support and our joint relief efforts reach the people in Benin. Every single day.

Kind regards from Benin,

Yours Florian Klinner”

      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference "Flood Benin"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can also choose a secure, fast and direct way of supporting our work by means of sending a text message: simply send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90. Of your total donation of 5 euros, 4.83 euros will be channelled directly into the humedica relief projects. You can also make a donation for the relief measures in Benin via our online form.

Three wishes that made Florian Klinner think: recovering full health, having enough to eat and a bottle of water – even an empty one which could then by used as toys by the children. Photo: humedica/Florian Klinner

Thank you very much

Disaster relief in Benin is implemented in cooperation with the Foundation of the German Institute for Relief Medicine (Stiftung des Deutschen Instituts für Katastrophenmedizin, Tübingen) and is furthermore supported by the German Federal Foreign Office (Berlin). Thank you for the excellent cooperation.

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