sierra leoneIn Sierra Leone mothers use caustic soda to home-make soap, and children often exchange it for water and drink it. During 2008 alone, 249 children have been admitted in the surgical pediatric unit of the Emergency center in Goderich, near Freetown - a number twice higher than that recorded in 2007.

Patients who ingested caustic soda are subjected to periodic esophageal dilatation, which is the only way to give them the hope of autonomous nutrition and thus a life.

Emergency is an independent, neutral and non-political Italian organization, which provides free, high-quality medical and surgical treatment to the civilian victims of war, landmines, and poverty. It promotes a culture of solidarity, peace, and respect for human rights.

goderich endoscopyThe Emergency hospital in Goderich (right) is the only place in the whole country where this procedure is possible. The endoscopes which have so far been used by surgeons there require urgent repair, and two new instruments have to be acquired, one for children and one for teenagers. The total cost of the operation is of about 26,000 US dollars.

If you are sitting on some extra money and if you care for the life of children wherever they live, you might consider contributing to the repair and purchase of endoscopes by donating money with your credit card at the Emergency web site. Please be sure to specify "Sierra Leone - programma di dilatazione" in the form.

Further reading:
Documentation on the program (in italian only)