We met Lady last year while visiting the patients at Amasaman Hospital. She was a young girls of nine, living in the bush with her family. When the public health nurse was told of Lady’s condition she gathered a team to investigate the family. The 7 children were kept naked and had never seen strangers—not even people who lived in the near by village. They all ran in fear, except for Lady. She was immobile. Totally unable to walk because of Buruli Ulcer, she had been lying in the dirt for almost 2 years. Her father had been giving her whiskey to fight the pain.
Mycrobacterial ulcerans is related to Tuberculosis and Leprosy. It can begin as a small nodule but soon turns into an ulcer. Children under the age of 15 are the most affected. The transference is totally unknown. It is found in parts of Africa, Australia, some Eastern Islands and Japan. In Ghana, Ga West, Ga South and some parts of the Ashanti region are affected. It is suspected to have a link to certain rivers. Untreated, Buruli can cause severe disfigurement, limb amputation and death.
Disfigurement in a young girl caused by Buruli Ulcers.
Lady was taken to the Amasaman Hospital where she has been treated for the last one and a half years. Her mother visits on occasion. She has the most beautiful smile. Today she hobbled up to me on her one crutch. At first I thought her leg had been amputated. It has so many adhesions the tendon has atrophied so it is tucked tight to her body under her dress.
Lady is lonely and wants to be with her family, but the Buruli has caused so much damage that she needs to go to Korlebu Hospital for plastic surgery. The cost will be $3,000 to cover her and her mom’s expenses. Once she has healed the social workers will place Lady with her siblings in an American Rehabilitative Village for children rescued from unsafe environments. Unfortunately, without the help of Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope and the Anglican Diocese of Accra, Lady would not be able to have surgery.