In May 2019, Emmanuel David, aged 4, was brought by his mother to the International Medical Corps-supported health facility at Malakal Teaching Hospital in South Sudan. Emmanuel suffered from a rare abdominal condition—his liver was outside his abdominal cavity, protected only by his skin, and a corresponding mass had formed on his umbilical region.
Emmanuel’s mother, 29-year-old Lucia Khamis, had traveled to several different local health facilities seeking help. Each one referred her to a larger hospital.
“When I took Emmanuel to the other health facilities, I was advised to take him to either Khartoum or Nairobi, but I could not afford the trip,” she explains. “Meanwhile, the mass was growing and my child was getting sick, weak and could not play with other children.”
A single mother of two, Lucia lives with her children at her parents’ home in Malakal. She has no stable income to provide for her family, and relies on humanitarian assistance to make ends meet.
When news of Emmanuel’s ailment reached International Medical Corps, our medical personnel visited the home and listened to Lucia’s touching story of her son’s plight. They immediately recommended that she take Emmanuel to our health facility for treatment.
After International Medical Corps surgeon Dr. Joseph Idi examined Emmanuel, he and a dedicated medical team performed a successful surgery on the boy’s abdomen. The procedure consisted of separating the liver from the abdominal skin, opening the abdominal cavity and placing the liver within it. “We were surprised that the mass corresponded to the abnormal location of the liver,” says Dr. Idi.
Emmanuel responded well to treatment after the surgery, and was discharged from the hospital after 15 days. One year later, Emmanuel had fully recovered and returned to the hospital for his final follow-up appointment.
“Emmanuel’s grandparents and I are so happy and thankful for what International Medical Corps has done for my child,” says Lucia. “You saved my son’s life and we didn’t have to travel abroad to seek better care, a cost that I couldn't have managed.”
International Medical Corps provides comprehensive, integrated primary and secondary healthcare services at the protection-of-civilians site in Malakal. The facility includes an operating theatre for emergency surgeries that is the only functional surgical center for obstetrical and emergency cases in Upper Nile state. Patients from across the region come there for treatment.