We have been funding operations for children from all over Afghanistan at the French Medical Institute for Children and Mothers, in Kabul, since 2012. More recently, we have begun funding surgeries for mothers as well.
Our aim is to provide access to good surgical care to those most in need from rural provinces of Afghanistan. Children and mothers are chosen on the basis of their need of treatment, the impossibility of treatment in their home province and their economic situation. Their transport to Kabul is also covered and the kids, together with their mum or dad, stay free in the Children’s House next door.
Most operations are for problems that children have had since birth, such as heart disease, hip dislocations, club foot and cleft lip, but also include burns treatment and removing tonsils.
In 2019, your donations of just over £10,000 paid for 13 operations and all associated costs. Without your support, these children and women would have little chance of receiving such life-changing medical treatment.
Below are some of the children and their stories.
Kamila’s life-changing heart operation
Kamila is from a family of 13 in Ghazni province, and had been in poor health since birth, struggling for breath and unable to stand for long.
At the age of 4, she was diagnosed with a critical congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. In the west this condition is usually diagnosed and operated on within a child’s first year.
Her operation involved stopping her heart, being attached to a heart bypass machine, closing up a hole between two heart chambers and cutting away obstructive heart muscle tissue.
After only a few weeks’ convalescence, she was back on her feet. Her father, who works as a baker, was delighted.
Until the operation, Kamila had been a solitary child who didn’t often play, and talked little. Now she’s always asking her dad, “Can I go play? Explore other places again?” Seeing her play, run and laugh is more than the family had hoped for.
Somia’s life-saving operation
Somia comes from Logar province where health services are almost non-existent and the situation is not secure because of the ongoing armed conflict. Her family took in the family of a neighbour who was killed during the fighting, so now there are 15 people living together in the household.
Somia’s father is only able to find occasional work, as a daily worker earning less than £30 a month. The family had debts of £500 and there was no way that they could afford the £2,000 needed to correct Somia’s heart condition.
Without the operation, it is likely she would have died before the age of three, so your donations saved her life.
“I’m happy I’m in good health”
Masooda, 33, needed a cystectomy, the removal of her bladder, which cost £630.
She tells her own story:
“I’m the mother of six children. My youngest is 2 years old. We live in Baghlan province where war is ongoing.
My husband has been a teacher for 25 years but, although he has a job, we don’t have enough income to live decently. His salary (£60 a month) is not always regular; due to war the schools are often closed. Everybody needs medical care in our province, people are very poor.
“I was sick for a year. I couldn’t understand what was happening in my body. I visited many doctors, they gave me medicine but the pain was still unbearable. It was so painful that I couldn’t walk or stand up.
“I learned of the French Medical Institute from neighbours and travelled to Kabul by bus. I was lucky that they would treat me. The surgery went very well, I stayed for six days at the Children’s House with my husband.
“We won’t have more children but I’m happy I’m in good health to take care of my six children from now on. I live for them and my oldest kids are so happy to see me healthy again.”