The young woman approached Dr. Johnson in silence, but her eyes were pleading. Modestly dressed despite the scorching heat, she beckoned the volunteer JDC doctor to follow her past shriveled trees and dead crops until they were safely behind a latrine. Then she lifted her skirt. “Please,” she said, unveiling a painful-looking mass that was likely the product of an ill-attended birth.
Severe drought—like the kind currently ravaging several regions of Ethiopia—breeds multiple challenges including malnutrition, miscarriages and birth defects. That’s why Federation partner JDC is both on the ground and in it, coordinating with the government and local agencies to dig wells and provide medicine, nutritional supplements and—most importantly—education to help those in affected communities survive these extreme conditions.
“If the woman with the birth injury makes it to the hospital, she can learn to recognize warning signs in other deliveries,” explains Dr. Johnson. “When we measure a child's wrist and discover malnutrition, the [supplement] we deliver can help save a life. In a drought of not solely water, but of resources, education and compassion, I pray that our interactions can plant seeds hearty enough to grow in this desert.”