Guinea: Resuming the journey back to life
Terre des hommes is happy to announce that children from Guinea are again able to come to Switzerland for heart surgery after the end of the Ebola crisis. Due to the epidemic ravaging the country and claiming more than 2,500 lives, transfers were stopped about two years ago.
Alpha Oumar suffers from Tetralogy of Fallot, a heart defect which prevents oxygen from being properly pumped into the blood. In a country like Guinea in which 70% of the population lives in rural areas far away from health centres, many children don’t get diagnosed at an early enough stage. “While in Switzerland, a case like this gets detected before or shortly after birth, Alpha Oumar’s heart disease was only discovered a few months ago. The 4-year-old is lucky enough to have survived until now without surgery”, says Zihret Hasanovic, who works for the specialised care programme.
On 21 December, Alpha Oumar was one of the first Guinean children to arrive in Switzerland after the end of the Ebola epidemic – tired but also curious. He was accompanied by Mariama, a 15-year-old girl from a farming family who also suffered from heart disease. Even though the boy war far away from his mother, he was able to find some comfort in Mariama, who spoke the same language as him. Both were transported to the University Hospitals in Geneva to be examined before Christmas. Afterwards and until their operation, they will be taken care of at the children’s center La Maison de Massongex.
Following the complex surgical procedure, which is not yet feasible in West Africa, both children will be able to lead a healthy life. Terre des hommes will accompany them during their medical and educational futures. Every year, we help 20 children from Guinea to have a better tomorrow. We wish both Alpha and Mariama a successful operation and a good start into a healthy life.