Heading for treatment in a donkey cart: last week, Esho, who was sceptical and frightened at first, received an urgently needed and life-changing operation. Photo: humedica/Antje Weber
“Now I have hope that the wound will heal”
Skin graft in the desert
A skin graft in a refugee camp is not an easy undertaking. Scorching heat, simple medical equipment and poor sanitary conditions pose a challenge to the humedica team. Yet the skin graft carried out last week was successful. 25-year-old Esho can now hope for the complete cure of the wound on her ankle.
This is an exciting day for Esho. Like every morning, the young Ethiopian woman is taken to the humedica health post by her husband in a donkey cart. Her face shows that she is nervous. Five days ago, a piece of skin was taken from her leg and grafted onto a large wound on her foot. Now we will see if the operation was successful.
A small itching spot had become inflamed and turned into a large wound. This is not uncommon in the south of Ethiopia, where hygienic conditions are poor. Due to her injury, Esho is bedridden and cannot look after her children by herself.
“The most difficult thing was to create a sterile environment for the transplant”, Dr. Miriam Wilms, the operating surgeon from Duisburg, explains. In a room that had been specially prepared, the operation went well. “We made a splint out of cardboard to make sure that the patient would keep her foot still after the operation. Otherwise there would be no chance for the skin to adhere to the underlying tissue”, she goes on.
Now it will become visible if our efforts were successful. Under water, the doctor carefully removes the bandage. We are relieved by what we see. The new skin has adhered and the wound has not become infected. “Now I have hope that the wound will heal”, Esho says, visibly relieved.
For two years she has been living in the refugee camp of Melkadida with her two children and her husband. Both are originally from Dollo Ado, the border town to Somalia. Due to the drought they lost their camels and went to Melkadida to make a new beginning.
After the successful graft, there is a good chance for healing. “The first days are the most important. I am very optimistic that the tissue will adhere completely and that the wound will heal”, says Dr. Wilms. “Esho will soon be able to walk again.”
Please support our team on site to help people like Esho by making a donation to the following account:
humedica e. V.
Reference "Famine Relief Africa"
Account 47 47
Bank Code 734 500 00
SWIFT-Code: BYLA DE M1 KFB