The following article has been submitted by NOVA volunteer Dr. Dina Daswani, M.D. who was on NOVA’s 17th Medical Mission in May 2014:
I first met Carlo Amazon and his grandmother in the NOVA Hope for Haiti Clinic in Cavaillon, Haiti on a hot and busy day in May 2014. As the translator began to introduce me to the family, I looked at the thin, frail, little baby, about the size of a newborn, lying in his grandmother’s arms. To my surprise, I learnt that little Carlo was already 6 months old!
Carlo’s teenage mother struggled in providing adequate care for Carlo while attending school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. At 4 months of age, Carlo was brought to his grandmother, who did her best to provide and care for him. The family could only afford to feed him cow’s milk powder and some pureed foods, but his grandmother knew that he was not growing appropriately like the other children in the family. In addition, Carlo suffered from pale, dry skin, frequent diarrhea and vomiting episodes, and had become very cranky. Carlo was severely malnourished at the time I met him.
In clinic, we carefully assessed Carlo and then attempted feeding trials with oral rehydration solution and Plumpy’nut. The pediatric medical team included Dr. Chris Cavagnaro, Dr. Julie Tokarski and myself Dr. Dina Daswani, and together we were able to compose a medical treatment plan for Carlo, which we carefully reviewed with his grandmother. With the help of various members of our mission team, including doctors, nurses, and volunteers, we gave them vitamins and minerals, oral rehydration solution, and Plumpy’nut. We also introduced the family to Dr. Altonor Nixon, NOVA’s physician in Haiti, who would be able to follow up with the family and monitor Carlo’ growth and development.
Furthermore, with the help and generosity of many donors and members of our mission team, we arranged to bring powdered formula for Carlo to his home to help him grow and develop appropriately. On our last day, we made the journey to their home. It was an amazing adventure through the beautiful rural areas that surrounds Cavaillon. We visited with and reassessed Carlo, and were also able to meet several members of the family including Carlo’s mother, and many uncles, aunts, cousins, and neighbors. We were able to teach the family how to best care for this sick child in their home given their limited means and living conditions.
With much gratitude to Dr. Altonor Nixon, I have been able to follow up on Carlo’ growth over the past few months. He has been growing, and now appears an appropriate size for his age. More so, he has achieved developmental milestones and is now sitting up on his own, smiling and babbling.
This experience of meeting Carlo Amazon was most humbling and rewarding in more ways than I can express. It has truly broadened my perspective in life and I hope to be able to continue such work in the future.
Dina Daswani, M.D.
Here is a video of Carlo’s first visit with Dr. Dina Dawani in May 2014:
And here is Carlo today. These photos have been taken by Dr. Altenord Nixon when Carlo visited NOVA’s permanent clinic in Haiti for follow up medical care:
Carlo and his grandma visiting NOVA’s New clinic in October 2014:
Thank you to all of NOVA’s volunteers, our staff in Haiti and our donors who make this possible!