Salambo in Addis

Salambo discovering Ethiopia

Broken arm

Last week, my nine year old son broke his arm. In many parts of the World, it is not a big deal as the medical set up is there to provide emergency treatment so parents wouldn’t think twice about it. In Ethiopia, the situation is slightly different because of lack of general medical care. Routine things like a broken arm can potentially have serious consequences if not treated well. It is not infrequent that an arm has to be broken again because it was not set right the first time round (at least I heard that same story several times).

The Cure hospital in Addis

The Cure hospital in Addis

Luckily now, we have the Cure Hospital, a private paediatric hospital funded by Cure International, the Non-Government Organisation (NGO) specialised in orthopaedic treatment for children. The NGO was established as a philanthropic project to help under-priviledged children in the developing world by treating birth defects such as clubfoot or cleft lip and palate. In Addis, they also run a private wing treating routine injuries such as broken arm or leg, which contributes to financing the main hospital. Private patients contribute to about 10 to 15 percent of the hospital’s running costs and for now, they intend to keep it at that level to be able to continue to focus mainly on local patients with serious disabilities and in need of more complicated orthopaedic surgery.

The waiting room

The waiting room

The day I took my son there, we saw a number of children in the waiting room with serious disabilities, some of them, waiting to be examined, were in a plaster cast from feet to waist. It made me realise that my son’s broken wrist was only a minor injury. Still, he was treated by Dr Rick, one of the head surgeons in the clinic and a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. He recently moved from the UK with his young family to take the job in Addis. He personally put the cast on my son’s arm while explaining to his Ethiopian assistant how to put it for maximum effect. Part of his job is also to train national staff. Being very talkative, he told me about the cases he had to treat, especially children from rural areas who are completely ostracised from their community because of their very apparent physical deformities, such as clubfoot which prevents them from walking normally let alone running. The treatment is changing their life.

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One comment on “Broken arm

  1. aljernow
    December 11, 2014

    Caleb broke his arm last March! We went to Swedish Clinic, Brook Hospital, back to Swedish Clinic, back to Brook Hospital. Finally ended up at Cure Hospital and saw Dr. Rick, who did a fantastic job. Hope Phelim has a speedy recovery. Gros Bisous!

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This entry was posted on December 9, 2014 by in Living in Addis and tagged , , , , , , .

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