Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We are used to see pictures like this in the West. In fact for many it has become the very face of Africa. But if one lives here in this vibrant country, where people are smiling and laughing and where the rainy season has brought lush green fields, one forgets easily that Mali is one of the very poorest countries in the world.

This little boy, Moktar, arrived at the Djenne Health Centre yesterday. His mother had no milk, and her efforts to feed the boy with goats milk had failed. There is a WHO nutrition programme put in place at the Djenne Health Centre, and malnourished children can be hospitalized and nourished for free under this scheme. The programme does not cover pharmaceutical expenses however, and if the family is too poor to buy the medicines prescribed, the child might die. Moktar needed special milk which one buys in the pharmacy.
Keita and I have now set up a fund at the Djenne Health Centre for this particular purpose. The fund is paid for by the money kindly donated by many friends in England and in Sweden, and it also supports another couple of grass roots health and education programmes here in Djenne.
It was too late for Moktar, and to our great sorrow this little boy died this morning.


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