Jonas is one brave little 5 year old. He lives with his family under a giant baobob tree on the plains of Tanzania. He loves to run and play and watch the bee hives high in branches near his home.
Two years ago, when he was just a toddler, there was a tragic accident. As in many homes in the developing world, Jonas’ mother boils water over an open flame. Drawn to the swirling bubbles, a curious Jonas reached deep into the roiling pot and was severely burned.
Only for the good fortune of a nearby truck and a month in a clinic was Jonas’ life saved. Those frontline health workers thankfully were trained in the basics of trauma care and helped Jonas survive.
But in the following months, his scar tissue began contracting – his skin, tightening, fusing together leaving Jonas an increasingly painful, potentially useless limb. His father Augustine foresaw a life of dependency and pain.
When he heard about ReSurge International and their ability to repair disabling burns with reconstructive surgical care, he chose to act. He sold some of the family’s few possessions, and spent days on foot and buses, to get Jonas to the small hospital in Itigi, Tanzania where ReSurge was working.
Jonas soldiered through and the surgery was a success – Jonas got his arm back. After a few days in the hospital, he was already heading home. Now Jonas can run, play, and watch the bees with a much brighter future ahead. His arm should gain full mobility and may someday match the strength of his smile.
Unfortunately Jonas’ accident is all too common. All too often, there are no health workers available to help children survive – and even fewer surgical doctors available to help children like Jonas thrive by reducing their needless disabilities.
The potential for dramatically life-altering surgery is enormous. Currently, Tanzania, a country of 45 million people, has only three reconstructive plastic surgeons to help Jonas, and the thousands of other children who suffer severe burns, other injuries and congenital anomalies each year.
Surgical care for clefts, burns and other conditions and the therapy that follows are cost-effective, achievable procedures. The World Bank’s Disease Control Priorities report states that “surgical procedures are among the most cost-effective of all health interventions in the developing world.”
There’s a tremendous opportunity for those strong and generous enough to take it on. Help ReSurge provide surgical care, train local staff and advocate for greater access. Together, we can heal untold numbers of patients across the globe and give them the same bright future now held by one brave little 5 year old on the plains of Tanzania.