Always on the lookout to save lives


Amy Beaumont
Monday, 10 December, 2012

The sad fact is that parents here are so used to seeing their children look thin and ill that they don’t always spot the danger signs of severe malnutrition.

Ushudwa is a case in point. This tiny two and a half year old was in his mother’s arms as she carried him past our mobile health clinic just outside Goma, DR Congo. Just a glimpse of his swollen feet and discoloured hair were enough to alert Dr Sekou Condé, Merlin’s Provincial Health Director.

He immediately called Ushudwa’s mother Furuha into the clinic to be seen by a Merlin nurse.

A thorough check up proved Dr Condé’s worst fears right. Ushudwa was suffering from severe acute malnutrition. He was limp and lifeless and had no appetite. He was given Plumpy Nut, a nutrient-rich peanut butter paste and Furuha was given some extra supplies to help him make a full recovery.

She told me “I’m so happy Merlin’s here – we want you to stay until we have found somewhere proper to live.”

I’m glad Merlin is here too and that we have expert staff like Dr Condé on hand. Little Ushudwa was desperately ill and without that chance glance who knows what would have happened?

My job as Operations Manager means that I can often be busy planning new services, looking at budgets or organising training. But days like today, when I saw for myself the difference Merlin is making are amazing. It brought home the importance of what I do, what our medical staff do, what we all do at Merlin. It’s a huge team effort. And that team includes you too.

The support from donors keeps Merlin on the road, ready to respond, ready to save lives like Ushudwa’s.

If you'd like to help vulnerable people affected by the crisis in DR Congo receive urgent medical care, you can. We need your help to carry on providing lifesaving health services in the DR Congo, where the need is greatest.