Amsterdam, 1st of August 2018
Stories of Change
Last year, I organized with Medecin Sans Frontieres (MSF), Annette de Jong and Cunera van der Linden (project manager) an innovation project that we called MSF Story of Change. Annette and I went to Sokoto in Nigeria to test with field staff and local population if storytelling intervention can save lives. It became a success because we worked really hard and MSF had the courage. To thank Cunera, who kept everything together at the main base, and Annette I gave both a Flag of Compassion.
MSF is an NGO that totally suits the Flag of Compassion. The staff without borders is active in the world without borders and they can bring the bit that makes a whole difference for our fellow humans.
With MSF we found an organization that wanted to affect the health behavior positively in one of the poorest countries of the world with the help of Stories of Change. We got in touch with the NOMA project.
Together with the Ministry of Health, MSF runs the NOMA children hospital in Sokoto in Nigeria, the only one in the world. A couple of times in the year a group of volunteer surgeons operates mainly children of whom the face is seriously damaged, as a consequence of untreated infection diseases, called NOMA.
These children starve if nothing happens or get injured in their face with disastrous consequences and when the disease starts to be visible they are kept out of the community because of shame. A lot of ignorance exists among the population and it is even worse that early detection, diagnosis, and treatment can prevent bad injuries or death. An early treatment would also mean that these recovery operations are not needed that much. It would mean a future for the kids of which they otherwise would be deprived.
One engaging story with a good explanation will help in the prevention and early diagnosis of NOMA.
My Flag of Compassion goes to the MSF staff that in difficult circumstances makes an effort every day to detect these kids and help the parents to make a treatment possible. The region is big, the distances are long, with bad roads which are difficult to access and the population is ignorant of the consequences of NOMA for their children. The MSF staff in and outside the clinic deserve the Flag of Compassion.
My biggest wish is to have the Flag waving at the terrain of the clinic.
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Suzanne Tesselaar: Stories of Change