M.K is the mother of one of the children in Mediterranea's school in Abugida. She was deaf. She was just one of the 250000 deaf people in the country. Of course she had never consulted with a doctor about this. Hear deafness conditioned her every day life and her work possibilities. If being healthy is not enough in Ethiopia to guarantee any quality of life or job opportunity, then having any kind of invalidity turns the struggle for existence in to a night mare.
We were asked to see M.K. when we were carrying out the check-ups on the babies in our school. On examination M.K. was found to have both ears totally blocked with old hard wax. The wax had been there for years and had led her to believe that she should be deaf for the rest of her life.
A 20ml syringe and a bit of hot water quickly returned her hearing to her. This made us meditate on how a small problem can become a very big one in the Third World and specially in Ethiopia where the vast majority of people have no access to medical help or medicines.
A third of the population when it needs to get medical help it has to sacrifice other basic things in life like food or education. Ethiopia is the country where babies and children get the least basic medical attention. They have only and doctor per 33000 inhabitants. (Europe: 1 doctor/700-2400 people)
There have been advances in vaccination campaigns and treatment of HIV+ people but there are still and enormous number of people in situations similar to M.K. which can be solved with simple treatments.