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The geographical fate

When a mother in a small town in South Sudan loses her baby because the hospital generator fails

ICRC pediatrician, Jessica Hazelwood, holds the baby with pneumonia in Maiwut hospital, South Sudan. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran / ICRC
ICRC pediatrician, Jessica Hazelwood, holds the baby with pneumonia in Maiwut hospital, South Sudan. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran / ICRC

It’s 3pm. The generator in Maiwut hospital suddenly stops. Nobody knows why. And seconds later, the oxygen machine that assists a five-month-baby also stops. The baby is called Nyanene and she was diagnosed with pneumonia two days before. The pediatrician of this hospital supported by the Red Cross, Jessica Hazelwood, tries to assist the baby with heart massages and manual ventilation. But ten minutes later, when the hospital technicians had managed to fix the generator, the child was already dead and her mother, inconsolable.

This is the tragic proof that life plays the geographical fate. A child in this same situation in a hospital in Barcelona, Paris, New York or Tokyo would surely survive. In South Sudan, no.

Most probably, even if Nyanene had overcame the failure of the generator, she would have died later for some other reasons. She was too weak and had too many needs that her environment could not provide. But it was dramatic to see the energy and desire she put to stay alive in this unequal world.


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