Yesterday I met Agnes Sichoba, an ENT patient here at Beit CURE Hospital. When I walked into her room she was in the midst of intently watching a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Even though she was bandaged and somewhat sore from her surgery the day before, she was laughing hysterically.
Agnes, 13 years old, is a shy, but pleasant girl with a smile that could melt your heart. She came to Beit CURE Hospital after suffering from debilitating hearing loss for nearly her entire life. She was discovered in 2002 in a little village near Kalomo, in Zambia’s Southern Province by Sue Calder, a missionary working with the Zambia Medical Mission.
Sue recalled that at the time when she first saw Agnes, Agnes had “a huge stomach” and appeared to be “several months pregnant” because she was so severely malnourished. Sue also mentioned to me that when they met, Agnes was 5 years old but “was wearing clothing that could fit a two year old” and she had “pus and liquid oozing out of her ears.”
Agnes, whose mother died of AIDS when she was an infant, was born HIV-positive and was being taken care of by her grandmother. Agnes and her grandmother had been going to different clinics all over the town to look for treatment for what was believed to be an acute ear infection. However, being poor and unable to afford transport to good hospitals and clinics, Agnes’ condition continued to deteriorate. School was also a problem.
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