fighting ebola Marcus Dipaola/ZumaPress

Morire dalla voglia di vivere

FREETOWN (SIERRA LEONE) – Quando lavoravo come medico presso il Pronto Soccorso dell’Ola During Children Hospital in Sierra Leone ho suggerito una volta alla madre di una bambina affetta da una grave forma di malaria di dire un’enorme bugia. A sua figlia Mariama serviva una trasfusione di sangue che le avrebbe salvato la vita, ma sua madre non aveva i soldi per pagare i test di screening e la donazione del sangue. Avevo già visto molti bambini morire mentre i genitori tentavano freneticamente di raccogliere i fondi necessari per farli guarire.

Nella determinazione di salvare Mariama, dissi a sua madre di andare a casa e annunciare la morte della figlia. Sapevo che questa notizia avrebbe attirato la compassione dei parenti che avrebbero raccimolato i fondi necessari a garantire un degno funerale. La madre accettò e tornò sei ore dopo i soldi necessari per coprire tutti i costi delle cure di Mariama, ovvero la trasfusione di sangue, la cura della malaria e l’infestazione di vermi. Pochi giorni dopo dimisi dall’ospedale la bambina di quattro anni ancora debole ma in via di guarigione.

La malattia di Mariama non spinse i parenti ad agire, mentre la notizia della sua morte sì. La stessa cosa è successa, su scala ben più vasta, nel corso dell’epidemia di ebola nell’Africa occidentale.

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