Thursday, February 01, 2007

Suffer Little Children: Hospital's a nice place to be - it has water and electricity

ABU DHABI, 30 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - "I am Saleh Fadel from Baghdad. My 10-year-old daughter Azel was diagnosed with a viral infection in her eyes at birth. The infection is called granulomatous multicentric papilloma and it needs continuous treatment. So far, she has undergone 13 operations in her eye in Iraq and this week she will have her 14th in the UAE [United Arab Emirates].

"Azel has been exposed to a virus which has been around since the US bombing of Iraq in 1995. She has become very tired from all the operations - almost every four months she has to undergo an operation.

"She is in the 5th grade in school. Children at her school do not want to play with her. They keep teasing her about her eye. They think she looks weird.

"She does not really realise what exactly is happening around her in Iraq. She knows that I can't go to work as much. If I go out, she or her siblings may hear something bad is happening and they call me and tell me to go back home because it is dangerous.

"We can't take the children out to play or to go anywhere for a picnic anymore. She realises this and it bothers her. She is scared of going outside. She knows it is not safe. She is also scared for her siblings and for me. She knows that any explosion can easily kill any of us.

"Because of the insecurity, we can't go to the hospital. There is a clinic very close to our home but we can't go at all. I run to the pharmacy in our neighborhood to get her medication, then I run back home. I can't spend too much time outside. The city is like a ghost town, especially after five o'clock in the evening, there is absolutely no one in the streets.

"Azel likes being in the hospital [in the UAE] because she enjoys the fact that there is electricity and water. In Iraq, we can only shower every three or four days and there is no power or electricity."

Related articles:
Read more about how Azel and 110 other Iraqi children came to the UAE for medical treatment and read the account of the mother of one of these young patients.

Reproduced with the kind permission of IRIN
IRIN 2006
Photo: Copyright
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies

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