When Favour was 3 years old, he was at home alone with his 12-year-old cousin who was looking after him. She was responsible for bathing Favour and set about the routine of boiling water for the bath. Like many children his age, Favour resisted taking a bath, but she convinced him to cooperate and told him it would be like swimming. The cousin left Favour for a moment to find a towel, and while the little boy was alone, he dipped his arms into the boiling water. He was scalded instantly and in his shock, splashed more of the hot water on his body and face causing severe burn injuries.
When Favour's parents came home, they rushed him to a community clinic in Lusaka. He stayed there for several days. The family became increasingly uncomfortable with the quality and depth of care, so they made a decision to move him to a different hospital in Lusaka. At the second care center, through a random encounter with another parent who also had a child with burns, they learned of Dr. Goran Jovic, ReSurge surgical outreach director and the only reconstructive plastic surgeon in Zambia.
Soon thereafter, Favour and his parents met with Goran for a consultation. In the interim weeks between his injury and the consultation, his hands and fingers had become stiff, immovable and almost useless, as his wounds turned into tight and thick disabling scar tissue. His father said that he had "lost all hope that he would ever eat on his own, play with other children, be able to put his clothes on, or use his hands like other boys his age." They feared he would require constant attention to be safe and sensed he would never attend school or reach his dreams.
But when Goran spoke to Favour's parents, their hope was renewed.
Since meeting, Goran has operated on Favour's hands six times, each surgery releasing more of the contractures and each surgery restoring more of Favour's abilities to use his fingers and hands.
Zambia's only plastic surgeon, Dr. Goran Jovic, with Favour and his father Photo: ©Jeffrey Davis
Thankfully, Favour can now feed himself, play with other children, and grasp toys and pencils. He no longer suffers from pain. He now dreams of becoming a fireman. Since his surgeries, he has been able to move and use his hands with great dexterity and loves to paint and draw. Nine months ago, he began school. In the future, more surgeries will be needed to expand further the movement of his fingers.
Favour's father was overjoyed with the results of the surgeries and wanted to express his sincere gratitude, so he recently named Favour's newborn brother, Goran, a fitting tribute to the doctor who gave Favour a second chance at life.
Recognizing the life-changing ability of reconstructive surgery, Favour's father hopes that all children in Zambia will one day be free of preventable disabilities. "When I look at the whole process, I recognize that Zambia has to develop greater capacity to respond to these types of tragic emergencies. The greatest thing I wish for is that our country can develop an ability to help any child who needs this type of care in the same way my child was helped," Favour's father stated. "I want people to know that these types of miracles can happen. I want others to have this opportunity for healing."
to change the lives of more children like Favour.
ReSurge is thankful to volunteer photographer Jeffrey Davis,
who brought us Favour’s story while in Zambia.