A silent cry for help

by Judith Kühl,  2010/08/24

A little girl is sitting on the dirty ground, amidst makeshift tents, kettle and waste. She is itching everywhere. So terribly that her fingers are no longer enough to scratch. Everything is itching terribly, her legs, her arms and her face. The little girl is thinking about how she can find relief. A silent cry for help.

The little girl mentioned in the text is trying to get rid of the itching by means of using a dirty stone. Photo: humedica/Judith Kühl

She picks up a small stone from the ground and uses it to scratch her thin skin. If the girl scratches herself sore by doing so, an inflamed wound is already foreseeable. And what will she do then in order to ease the pain? Hopefully, she will not resort to cleaning the wound with the dirty water of a puddle on the ground.

Some metres away from her, there is a boy sitting in a tent. I can hardly count the flies sitting in his mouth, his face, and on the muddy sheet that serves him as a bed. He is itching terribly.

He does not wave away the flies, as if he already knew that he could not get rid of them. The boy needs to be washed, above all his face, so that the flies will no longer enter his mouth.

Such scenes touch my very heart. The doctors’ diagnosis is simple: “itching”. The reasons are obvious: a lack of hygiene due to a lack of clean water. Treatment is simple: ointments against the itching and for cleaning the sore skin.

Wounds which are already infected are cleaned and dressed. Help can be offered quickly, and at the same time it is so important. It is those dirty and inflamed wounds which can cause severe infections, if bacteria enter the body via those sore patches of skin.

Since most people’s immune systems are already weakened, the danger of bacteria spreading in their bodies is particularly high.

Almost every single one of the about 220 patients we treat per day complains about itching. Almost every evening our chemists ask for a fresh supply of ointments against itching. On the next morning the next queue of patients is waiting for their pain to be eased.

Only yesterday I saw a boy suffering from impetigo and pus blisters in his face. He was hardly able to see with his right eye, since it was swollen shut. The number of children and adults suffering from “itching” is endless.

Dear friends of humedica:it is hard to publish all these reports and images, but they are reflecting the current situation in Pakistan. It is the children in particular who still need our support. Please support our honorary teams in Pakistan by means of a targeted donation.

You can send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and contribute a donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into our project work. Please also donate for the flood victims in Pakistan via our online form, or choose the traditional way of supporting us by transferring your donation to the account below:
      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference "Flood relief Pakistan"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Thank you very much!

It is the children in particular who need our help; their misery is getting worse day by day. Photo: humedica/Judith Kühl

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