Serah*, a 28-year-old new mother, couldn’t breastfeed her new baby after fracturing her hip. She had gone to the hospital, but they wanted to charge her so much money that it was impossible for her to get medical treatment since her husband only earned 250 Afghanis (approximately $3 USD) a day. Later a healing Imam came and bound her hip with two short pieces of wood. Afterwards, Serah had been stuck lying on a toshak, a simple mattress, for months.
When two Operation Mercy team members visited the family as part of the nutrition project, they discovered that both Serah and her three-month-old were severely malnourished. They had no food, and a neighbour was feeding the baby powdered milk and trying to bring the household food as she could. Serah wept as she shared with the staff how another woman had initially been a wet nurse for her baby, but that lady had then turned on her and wanted to sell her child.
The Operation Mercy country director and a team member in Mazar-e Sharif persevered through the levels of bureaucracy, aiming to get Serah admitted to the nutrition programme for severe malnutrition and finding an orthopaedic surgeon to review her case and operate on her hip.
Two months later, Serah was improving from the malnutrition. The team heard that her hip had been operated on, and she was up and walking. Her baby, who was also severely malnourished, had recovered. While attempting to help cover the cost of Serah’s operation, the country director discovered that an anonymous businessman had already paid the bill. Mother and baby are now home and doing well.