One month full of new impressions and experiences

by Zarah Falkenberg,  2011/09/28

While many medical students enjoyed their summer vacation, Zarah Falkenberg travelled to Niger in order to work as an honorary assistant. The young medical student from Witten had applied for working at the humedica hospital in Kollo on an honorary basis.

"I travelled to Niger with humedica from August until September 2011 in order to work there at the small hospital Complexe Hosanna du Sahel in the city of Kollo. A month full of new impressions and experiences, since this was the first time I participated in a relief mission.

Instead of enjoying her lecture-free summer vacation, Zarah Falkenberg travelled to Niger in order to assist the local humedica team at the hospital. Photo: humedica

This time of year is the rain season in Niger, which is a blessing for the country, as the fields are provided with the water that is necessary for a successful harvest. Unfortunately, the rain also brings along many diseases like e.g. malaria. Almost all our in-patients, above all children and pregnant women, suffered from the disease.

My task at the humedica hospital was above all to assist the local nurses and to provide our numerous little patients with drugs and to care for them lovingly.

At the same time I was also partly responsible for explaining our medical and hygienic standards to the people. However, this turned out to be a substantial challenge. In Niger, like in many other African countries, time seems to pass much slower and hence, changes also take their time.

During my stay I experienced much sorrow. Many patients came to our hospital very late and the disease had already progressed so far that the patients suffered e.g. from epileptic seizures due to malaria.

But then, I also experienced numerous moments of happiness. For me it was the greatest pleasure to see children, who had arrived at our hospital tired, drained and suffering from high fever due to malaria, become ever more attentive and lively after only one or two days of treatment and then even see them smiling again.

Besides working with the nurses, I could also accompany chief physician Dr. Yacouba on his daily round and watch him treating the people. By doing so I learned a lot about tropical medicine. Furthermore, I could assist the midwives and assist them during prematernity medical care and births.

I had one experience that was particularly touching. I attended a birth and the doctors had already said before the birth that the child's heartbeat was very weak. When the little boy was born after long labour, he did not breathe.

A particularly touching and emotional moment: holding the breathing newborn. Photo: humedica/Zarah Falkenberg

The two midwives tried to make the newborn child breathe by means of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and cardiac pressure massage. Without success. Then they turned him upside down and patted him firmly on the back. And then the little boy finally let out a scream and started breathing.

I was very impressed by the calm reaction of the midwives and by the simple means they used to resolve this emergency situation and to bring this baby boy into life.

I would like to thank humedica for giving me the opportunity of taking part in this mission. It has been a very enriching and valuable experience for me personally, and also with regard to my future profession.

In this way, I would also like to thank Simone Winneg once more, the now former hospital coordinator. I think that she has done an amazing job with building up this project and making it what it is today with so much patience and love. Her position has been taken over by Miriam and Nils, a married couple from Sweden, who will now carry on the project.

And my thanks also goes to the hospital team again. They welcomed me openly and warmly as part of their team. I will miss everyone of them.

Yours, Zarah Falkenberg"

Dear friends and sponsors of our work, in order to expand and enlarge the hospital, we would like to ask you kindly to make a donation for this project. Thank you very much!

      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference “Hospital Niger
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can also support us in a secure, fast and simple way by means of sending at text message: Simply send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90. By doing so, you will make a donation of 5 euros, with 4,83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica disaster relief projects.

Thank you, dear Zarah, for your commitment. Thank you, dear friends and sponsors, for your support! Photo: humedica

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

Update my browser now×