Monday, July 9, 2012


            We visited the only children’s hospital in Ghana today. My heart broke as we walked into the malnourished floor. I couldn’t even hold back the tears. The children were broken. Some of them were even alone. One little girl named Mercy has been in the hospital for over 2 months. Mercy is 14, HIV positive, alone, and severely malnourished. She looked to be about 4 or 5. Her mom is deceased and her father rarely comes to check on her. Mercy is too weak to even walk, so she sits with her diaper on in a crib made for a baby. I asked the one dietician for the entire hospital why Mercy wasn’t gaining weight. Mercy has only gained 2/10ths of kilo in 2 months. The dietician told me that the HIV medication upsets the stomach and many children begin refusing food. The hospital doesn’t have the resources for better medication or more food options. Apparently in the US most HIV positive children are given Pediasure with their HIV medications and this combination is easier on the children’s tummy. Here Pediasure is basically nonexistent. We have a shipment of Pediasure coming from the US, but it hasn’t arrived yet. After seeing Mercy and asking many questions I went and explained everything to Dr. Anderson. He agreed that she needs an IV. We brought IV supplies with us since here in Ghana only the wealthy get IVs. We had to leave the hospital before we could find one of 8 doctors for the entire children’s hospital to ask about getting the IV started. So tomorrow Mercy will hopefully be receiving IV fluids and food.  This little girt is terribly sick. With out HIV medications and food Mercy will likely die. Unfortunately, Mercy isn’t the only child in this situation. Most HIV positive children face similar fates. Tomorrow we are helping run the HIV clinic at the children’s hospital. We will counsel the parents on how to feed the children with the antiretroviral medication. 

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