Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Is there a doctor in the house?

The local Mossuril hospital is a short drive down the pot-holed red dirt track, past the salt flats and flamingos, and a short rise from the main road out of town. The old colonial buildings contain different wards full of crying children, people squat by ruined out houses with improvised cooking stations while waiting for their family members to convalesce or seek attention. It's Michael Buerk territory. The sight of Dr Felisberto Quirino in his immaculate whites suspends any doubts we might have of Mozambique medicine. He speaks good English and is direct in his consultation. This is a man who also has a heartbreaking story that needs to be told. A year or so ago his young wife died of malaria leaving two young children. She had been too consumed with her studies to listen to her own body as her organs began to malfunction with malaria. Many miles away, Dr Quirino's pleas to get her to seek medical attention were too late. Today he needs help to buy a house for his surviving family. Can he get a bank loan? No. He seeks a loan of €2000 to buy a home, one that is a little more comfortable than his current mud hut. A hard working doctor doesn't ask for much, he knows what he can comfortably repay should anyone care to provide credit.

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