A special, personal appeal by our Founder, Umra Omar:
On this International Women’s Day I try to choose hope instead of anger- anger that a woman can be stranded in a village for two weeks with a broken hand, before she can afford to make the trek to the hospital, go back and forth between x-rays for three days, only to get a referral out of the County for a service that she should be receiving right here.
Salima Mohammed is 45 years-old. She has three children, one at home in her remote village, one at high school in a nearby town, and one in prison. Salima is divorced and in pain. Not because of the man that is no longer in her life but because of her fall two weeks ago that has left her with a badly broken arm. Her physical pain is compounded by the fact that there is nothing she can do about it, because she is born in the wrong corner of the world, where healthcare is not a given.
My pain is a little different from Salima’s- it involves trying desperately to deal with medical concerns of anyone that gets hold of my phone number, including Salima who is today sitting in my office, with no expectation from life whatsoever. Back at the office I pull out her x-ray report and a referral letter and that is where my frustration unfolds. After two weeks of pain, a lift to our biggest hospital, an x-ray, and consultation with the doctor hired from across the Atlantic Ocean, plus another three days back and forth, it turns out there is nothing that can be done to help Salima’s displaced collar fracture. Instead she is advised to either go to the private clinic down the street or get on the road for an 8-hour journey past countless security checkpoints for a referral to Mombasa County General Hospital.
The lack of access to adequate health services often leaves us with a bitter taste in our mouths. This is only one of the many referral cases that Safari Doctors has had to deal with. Salima got on a boat with us, three days later was on a flight and we are happy to report that her surgery went well. Now we have to figure out the costs. To anyone who wants to support Salima, her expenses come to USD 1,558. Any additional funds raised will go towards covering her travel expenses for her post-surgery follow-up.
Now let us ask ourselves how many other women, worse off than Salima, are out there – stuck when they should not be. The second question is, what are we going to do about it?
Happy International Women’s Day!
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