Little Shantal will live

by Ruth Bücker,  2011/05/18

Seven-year old Shantal from Nairobi in Kenya has come a long and stony way of recovery. A way that has been marked by constant hope and fears for the little girl’s life.

Five-year old Shantal (centre) two years after the tragic accident. Photo: humedica

But also a way that is slowly levelling out and reveals a cheerful little girl that still needs further life-saving treatment, but has already made great progress – thanks to our joint efforts to help.

This way had its tragic beginning in the year 2007. Back then, three-year old Shantal from Nairobi unknowingly drank an acid liquid that basically burned large parts of her gullet. An accident with dramatic consequences: although the little girl’s life could be saved, the prognosis for her future did not seem to be positive at first.

Shantal could neither take in food nor drink and her little body got ever weaker. The only life-saving measure that held out the prospect for long-term recovery was an expensive dilatation (note: dilatation is a medical term for the procedure of enlarging a constricted tube-like organ).

Immediately after the accident these dilatations of Shantal’s gullet (oesophageal dilatations) had to be carried out at an interval of two weeks. For the family and above all for the little girl this meant they had to go through fears and pain every two weeks, but this was the only way to save the little girl’s life.

Since 2008, humedica has been covering the costs for these treatments and has been in regular contact with the family and the attending physicians. In the past, a surgery for enlarging the girl’s oesophagus permanently was impossible, and also pointless, since exchanging the damaged part of the oesophagus with an artificial substitute is only a solution for adult patients.

Hence, for the time being, the oesophageal dilatations were carried out at an interval of two weeks in order to enable little Shantal to take in food and drink. After the treatment, the girl was always able to swallow food and liquid; she gained weight and also new hope and new will to live.

The treatment causes slow, but life-changing progress. Under anaesthesia, a tube is inserted into the oesophagus for enlarging it. Photo: humedica

The girl’s father has recently written a letter to humedica and reported that the interval between the dilatations had in the meantime been extended to six weeks. The aim is to extend the phases between the dilatations to six months.

Although the way to this aim still seems long, Shantal’s life has already become more normal thanks to the regular treatments. She can go to school, plays with her friends, she is growing and can be child. She laughs and is cheerful.

Shantal will live. Her life will get ever more normal – normal in the sense of her being able to go about every-day life without limitations or complications that could in the worst case lead to death. The little girl can make her way thanks to our joint efforts to help, dear friends and sponsors.

Although the intensive work of humedica is above all focussed on helping groups and communities, we repeatedly committed ourselves to individual case aid for people like Shantal in the framework of our projects over the past few years.

The individual case aid by humedica has become an important part of our work for people in misery. Ever again we get the chance to offer targeted and sustainable help to individuals with overcoming complicated diseases or other emergency situations. Help that is possible thanks to your donations. Please continue supporting this field of our work also in future. Thank you!

      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference "Individual case aid"
      Account 47 47
      bank code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren
      IBAN: 35734500000000004747

You can also support us by means of sending a text message: send DOC to +49 8 11 90 and you will support the humedica projects in a direct, sustainable and secure way with a donation of 4.83 euros.

By looking at her, you cannot tell the suffering seven-year old Shantal has gone and is going through. Please continue helping us to save individual lives and enrich them in the long term. Photo: humedica

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