Boy Saved from Deadly Cerebral Malaria

Ten year-old Kumi is described as a lively boy who enjoys laughing and joking with his family and neighbors. Like so many in Africa, the people of Laro Village in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains are vulnerable to malaria. The nation of Sudan has the highest incidence of malaria in the eastern mediterranean.

At first it resembled flu-like symptoms when Kumi complained one day of a headache and general body aches. But by day two he took a serious turn for the worse. As he was walking, Kumi suddenly collapsed and fell unconscious.

Mother of Mercy Hospital, where Dr. Tom Catena has served as missionary doctor and hospital director for 15 years, is a two-hour journey from Kumi’s home. Kumi’s mother carried her son the entire distance to the hospital, hoping to get him critical help in time.

When he arrived, he was rushed in for testing and Dr. Tom diagnosed the ten year-old boy with cerebral malaria – a fatal condition if not immediately treated. It is the most dangerous and severe form of neurological malaria.

Dr. Tom wasted no time intubating Kumi and administering antimalarial medications. For a tenuous four days, Kumi’s mother, Khalatia, waited by his side. “I didn’t know or believe that my son would live,” she said. Kumi couldn’t eat or drink during that time, and he received nourishment through an NG tube.

Five days later, the treatment finally began to get the best of his illness. Kumi regained consciousness, and when he awoke, it became clear he had turned a corner. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Kumi was going to be all right.

His mother was emotionally exhausted but elated with gratitude. “Thank you to all the doctors and nurses for their good work for my son to recover,” she expressed. “Having been given this medicine, he is improving so well. I thank God for all the generous donors who send medicine to this hospital – God bless you!”

At the time of this writing, Kumi was able to stand again and eat on his own. He is expected to fully recuperate. Soon he will be back to teasing with his siblings and friends at home in Laro Village – because a team of dedicated medical professionals and supporters from across the world were there when he needed it most.

These stories of Lives Saved are possible because of your support to Dr. Tom and his team at Mother of Mercy Hospital. Thank you for helping save children like Kumi from the ever-present but treatable threat of malaria.

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