For the people like an oasis in the desert

by Ruth Bücker, 2011/06/29

For the inhabitants of some parts of Germany this May 23rd was a dearly welcomed holiday, for some it was the first day of a long weekend. For Christians, however, and in particular for Catholics, this day meant a lot more. Corpus Christi is one of the most important holidays of the Catholic Church. And this year, May 23rd also became important to the children, women and men in Niger.

Corpus Christi Mass at the parish church of St. Martin: the entire sum of the offertory was donated to humedica. Photo: AZ/Wild

In the framework of the offertory, the community of St. Ulrich of Kaufbeuren collected a sum of 1,117 euros for the humedica hospital in Kollo, where pregnant women have access to treatment and birthing assistance, and can furthermore take part in information campaigns regarding undernutrition.

In their capacity as organisers of this year’s Corpus Christi Mass, the parish church decided to donate the collected money for the relief project in West Africa. During mass, humedica CEO Wolfgang Groß presented the project work in Niger to those attending and he expressed his gratitude for their trust in humedica.

A recent visit by our Nigerien partner Yacouba Seydou once more made it clear that Niger still depends on help. During an interview he gratefully told about the cooperation and the support from Germany and he also expressed his concerns regarding the challenges the population is facing.

Cooperation with humedica is excellent – so good that it seems to be more than mere cooperation. It is a friendship that has formed between two organisations that recognised the existing medical needs and the challenges linked to them”, reported the relief aid partner and priest from Niger.

Health is a very comprehensive topic and a large challenge under Nigerien conditions. A challenge, because in Niger it is very difficult to find a doctor at all. According to estimates there is one doctor per 40,000 inhabitants.

“This is a friendship that has formed between two organisations that recognised the existing medical needs and the challenges linked to them.” Photo: humedica/Ruth Bücker

Also illiteracy is substantially high and only about 23 percent of the population are able to read and write. For women in particular it is difficult to obtain access to information and in general the low education level makes appropriate medical training, which would contribute to improving the doctor-patient ratio, impossible.

Therefore, patients travel substantial distances in order to reach the humedica hospital. It is in particular women and children who need treatment and information regarding medical issues. The women work very hard and their health is challenged and threatened above all during pregnancy.

Staff members at the humedica hospital take their time for examining patients and they treat the women with respect. Patients are welcomed warmly and hence they realise that their recovery is important to everyone. Recommendations for our hospital have spread and therefore more and more pregnant women or mothers with children come to see us.

The hospital is like an oasis in the desert. For me it is a miracle. Just like thirsty people in the desert crave for water, the people of Niger crave for medical treatment, which can save lives and is offered by humedica.”

Pastor Yacouba’s answer to the question of how the situation has developed after last year’s life-threatening drought still contains some concerns, but also some optimism:

80 percent of the Nigerien population live of farming. However, they can maximally plant and harvest just the amount of crops they need to provide for themselves and their families.

Be it birthing assistance, medical assistance during pregnancy, general medical treatment or information or training measures: our patients realise that they are well cared for at the humedica hospital. Photo: Foto: humedica/Lukas Witzig

It is true that after last year’s drought we were able to treat and save the lives of numerous persons suffering from severe undernutrition. But even those families who escaped disaster thanks to their wheat stocks have in the meantime run out of food.

Meanwhile, the rain has set in and now we all hope that this year’s harvest will be more successful. But unfortunately we cannot be sure of this.

Dear friends and sponsors of humedica: we have made a start – a successful start. But nevertheless it is still going to take some time until the humedica hospital in Kollo can operate completely independently. Please stay at our side until this day.

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

Please also make a donation via our online form or by means of sending a text message: send the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and your mobile bill will be charged with 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica relief projects.

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