Noor’s parents didn’t think she would make it. There was every chance she wouldn’t – particularly in Yemen today.
Born into a family that couldn’t afford to pay for medicine, in a nation embattled and wounded by conflict, this was a terrible time for a four-year-old girl to have cholera.
But thanks to the support of a Tearfund partner, her story took a different turn.
Noor’s mother wept as she told us: ‘My daughter started to deteriorate in front of my eyes; it’s a painful feeling to see a part of your heart dying and there’s nothing you can do.’
According to the World Health Organisation there are over 880,000 cases of cholera in Yemen, and the outbreak has killed more than 2,100 people. It’s affecting 90 per cent of the country which has been mired in conflict for over two years, destroying much of its infrastructure and economy.
Noor’s parents took her to Al Jumhory Hospital in Sana’a in a desperate attempt to save their daughter’s life.
The hospital staff treated Noor with great care, under the supervision of a Tearfund partner. Our partner kitted out the hospital's Diarrhoea Treatment Centre (DTC) with new equipment and gave specialised staff training to ensure cholera patients were effectively and properly treated. In the DTC, Noor and her mother were asked to wash their hands with chlorine water, then their feet were sprayed to help prevent the spread of disease.
They stayed for four days in the centre and, after treatment, Noor made a full recovery.
Her mother expressed her gratitude: ‘I was very happy when I found that I don’t have to pay to cure my daughter as I have no money to do so.That helped me very much.’
A wider impact
Project Health Promoters from our partner went with Noor’s father to his village to tell others about the dangers of cholera and what precautions they could take. They also trained villagers in hygiene practices including how to chlorinate drinking water.
The hope is that saving Noor’s life will now save the lives of her parents as well, and hopefully the lives of the whole village.
When she was told that they could leave the hospital, Noor’s mother couldn’t hide her joy: ‘My daughter is alive again!’ she exclaimed.