18 Dec 2009


Mykias, (a different boy from the one who came to Mallorca last summer) is 12 years old. His family is very poor and he lives in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

He suffers from chronic osteomielitis. This is an inflammation and infection of the radius bone (part of the arm) which oozes constant pus and he has a deformed hand.

Osteomielitis is an illness which isn't very common in our corner of the world. Before the discovery of antibiotics  this illness resulted in a serious health problem in the western world but nowadays modern medicine has it well under control.

Yet again, you are lucky if you are born in the FIRST world because if you are born in the THIRD world you die from a lack of antibiotics.

Living in the third world, the next step for someone suffering from osteomielitis is amputation. In Mykias' case we might just be in time to avoid this usually, inevitable next step.

Mykias has been lucky. A Cuban surgeon, specialist in this area of medicine works in a hospital in Ehtiopia like hundreds of other Cuban doctors. The social conscience of many Cuban doctors living and working in Ehiopia contrasts greatly with the capitalist, class conscious mentality of the majority of the local doctors trained in Ethiopian medical schools.

This Cuban doctor would like Mykias to undergo an operation in order to solve his health problem but the hospital lacks the resources necessary to carry out the procedure. They do not even have disinfectant.

He is now appealing to Mediterranea for a special bone fusing agent for Mykias' forearm. Once the useless part of the arm is removed this will be used to fuse the remaining bone together.
Mykias will have to take antibiotics for a very long time. We can easily provide the antibiotics but the bone fusing agent is much more complicated because it is so expensive. We have no intention of giving up because this material is often used in our society, it is used once and then thrown away, like so many other medical materials that could be put to good use in poorer parts of the world.

In the rich part of the world we use and throw. In the poor part of the world they have no choice, they do without.

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