Saviour in Boots

Elove Poetry By Elove Poetry, 10th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>News>Health

Combat medics, after putting their lives on the line, start treating the sick local populace to win their hearts and minds, the fog of war forgotten and calm restored...

Combat and Ethics

Saving lives is the heart of medical ethics, and doctors, nurses, physicians and the whole lot of medical fraternity are committed to this. Muslims believe that when you save one person you are saving the whole world.
This wouldn’t have been further from the truth for one-year-eight-month-old Yusuf Abbas Yassin. Struggling to stand on shaky, feeble legs, Yusuf was determined to make another developmental milestone, something that has come late for him; the day fate frowned on him last year (November, 2012).
Yusuf, crawling and trying to stand and learn to walk, would make use of anything that seemed to provide support. A pot of boiling beans on a charcoal stove seemed support enough for him as he reached for it and hauled himself up.
Little did Yusuf know that boiling pots of beans are hazards he should keep away from. The pot toppled, spilling its contents onto him – chest, abdomen and arms.

As no first aid knowledge would be expected from a people whose country has been devastated by war for over two decades, the only place to turn to was the local hospital – Kismayo Hospital. However, his burns were not handled properly at the hospital thus they got infected.
What would have been relieving turned nightmare. There was only one place left to go – the AMISOM troops’ base in Kismayo. It was no problem to access the base – Yusuf’s father, Abbas Yassin, is a soldier in the Somali National Army (SNA) and had fought alongside the AMISOM troops till the fall of Kismayo from the control of Al Shabaab militia.
AMISOM combat medics diagnosed the injury as fifteen percent burns that affect the epidermis, but first they prescribed prophylactic antibiotics to counter the infection and stabilize the patient. They also assured the anxious parents that all was well.
Nonetheless, Yusuf had to be admitted.
To allow the patient heal fast, the burn wounds had to be cleaned thoroughly and contact with the patient minimized, though the weather condition – dusty and warm – slowed down the healing. Thus, a tent was erected for him in the base, a bed equipped with a mosquito net provided and his grandmother allowed to stay with him.
To many, civilian population that is, soldiers are the face of violence. In the heart of it, soldiers are ultimately saviours and peacekeepers. Societies once scourged by war, devastated by diseases caused by lack of medical care are saved from such throes by soldiers despite the means they use to achieve that. Thus, after the fighting and all, soldiers engage in activities to endear them to the local population.

The use of combat medics and resources by the AMISOM troops may have been the first step in winning the hearts and minds of the local population, but to the locals it’s a case of ‘Save one, save the whole world’.
It is only a single case, and though may not produce a lasting impression, the short-term impact that if locals could get specialized treatment from the uniform people, is a potent factor in demonstrating to the local population that their government and AMISOM troops have a continuing interest in their welfare.
Well, long term impression that would achieve political, even strategic, objective would require structures and programs that are not yet established by AMISOM. For instance, hospitals, schools, health care centres and facilities, reconstruction and nation building structures and community quick impact projects.
Despite the fact that it’s not happening, before the transition from peace enforcement to peacekeeping environment that would allow for establishment of structures that would create lasting impression of the military to the local population, sick-call patrols to other areas might be of great impression. These areas might still be under the control of the militia and insecure and deprived thus pose security challenges, but as medical ethics calls for saving lives, it would be a great step too.
“We may not be able to treat everyone in the community at large,” says one of the medics, “but it’s a transient relief to diseases or accidents and injuries that the local medical facilities find daunting.”
Also, the merchant ships’ crew that dock at the Kismayo port are beneficiaries of the AMISOM troops’ medical assistance. The crew, in the evenings, play football at the port when all vehicles and workers have cleared the port for the night as AMISOM troops do not allow working at night for security reasons. One of the crew members of Mohammad Naeem ships sprained and fractured his leg. First aid was administered by the AMISOM combat medics there. They have also treat tropical diseases like malaria that attack the sailors docked at the port. The troops are available day and night and this has endeared them to the foreigners who call unto them in case of an emergency.
The primary concern is perception, what the military cares for, rather than community health at large, but all in all, the sole purpose of responding to the sick and the wounded is to save lives.
At first, it was not that easy for the locals to approach the AMISOM troops for such assistance. Suspicion coupled with anxiety and fear of what to expect made the locals be wary, but reassurance and concern shown by the troops won their confidence and trust. On the other hand, communication barrier has been a challenge. There must always be an interpreter (whom troops get one of their own who many a time is tied down by operational duties and unavailable when needed).
“We provide the patient and the guardian with everything they need,” says the medic who has been attending to Yusuf for the past two months he has been admitted. “Accommodation, feeding and all.” All this is evident from the tent that was erected and is occupied by the patient and his grandmother.
“Yusuf now is healed and would be discharged soon,” offers the medic as he walks little Yusuf around, holding his two arms to help him make those faltering steps every human being must make. True, what is left of the once infected burn wounds is a healing scar. Joy and gratitude plastered all over Yusuf’s grandmother is intense.
“AMISOM, good,” she says through an interpreter. “They saved my grandson. Tomorrow they will save another. They are saving the world.
Combat medics treat the sick and wounded all over regardless of the side of the hostilities the patients are because, though they might be combatants, deep inside they are doctors at heart, in their minds they know this, and demands of the medical profession to save lives is their number one rule.


Combat Medics, Doctors

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author avatar Trillionaire
12th Jul 2013 (#)

Such a wonderful read, lives are important.

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author avatar Elove Poetry
13th Jul 2013 (#)

Yeah, and medics makes sure that they save them....

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