2nd August 2005, 09:11 PM
Mongolian girl in Singapore to seek medical treatment
Don't know if this has been publicised, but some of you may wish to help a little.
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Twelve-year old Tsermaa Gankhuyag was born with a congenital malformation, known as Ano-Rectal Malformation. She defecates through her vagina or genitals. She was not able to receive treatment in her home country, Mongolia, because of the lack of medical experience and poor treatment facilities. Living in rural Mongolia where poverty is prevalent, traveling to Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, to seek medical help was also an impossibility.
World Vision Singapore found out about her condition and sought the assistance of our local doctors to help Tsermaa. The family had hope.
Associate Professor K Prabhakaran, Chief of the Department of Paediatric Surgery of a Singapore hospital visited Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and operated on six children suffering from various medical complications in April 2005. Tsermaa was one of the children awaiting treatment. However, due to the lack of medical facilities in Mongolia and the complexity of her condition, she was unable to be treated. The family despaired.
Touched by the uniqueness and delicate nature of her case and with World Vision?s assistance, A/Prof Prabhakaran has arranged for Tsermaa to be treated in Singapore. After more than 12 years of agony, Tsermaa?s suffering is about to end. Appreciating Tsermaa?s background and needs, A/Prof Prabhakaran will be waiving his professional fees to treat her. The cost of Tsermaa?s operation, hospital stay, facility fees and the cost of her mother?s accommodation here will still cost more than $20,000.
When Tsermaa was born, her father left the family as it was considered a bad omen to have a baby with an abnormal defect in Mongolian culture. He took their ger with him, leaving Sarantuya a single mother, homeless and helpless with no income and five young children and an old mother to care for.
The family faced many difficulties caused by poverty, homelessness and Tsermaa?s condition. They lived like nomads moving from one relative to another and constantly felt oppressed and rejected, until they received their own ger from World Vision.
Due to her health problems, Tsermaa dropped out of school for two years. Later, she joined World Vision?s non-formal education programme and successfully passed the entry examinations to be enrolled in Mongolia?s forrmal education programme. She is now in second grade.
As a sensitive young girl, she suffers from feelings of shame and embarrassment and is very quiet in school and among people. Because of their financial difficulties, her mother could not afford to buy diapers for her. She uses thick fabrics to manage Tsermaa?s defecating condition. However, the fabric would rub sores on the inside of her thighs. Her mother would feed her less to try to prevent her from having to defecate so often. So as a growing child, Tsermaa had to contend with being hungry often.
Tsermaa is living with her four siblings, mother and grandmother in Mongolia. The family of seven live in a ger (a Mongolian traditional tent), provided by World Vision through our Gift a Ger Project in 2004.
Tsermaa?s mother, Sarantuya, is unemployed. It is very difficult for women of her age to find work in Mongolia, so she collects animal dung to produce fire in addition to caring for her five children and old mother.
Her grandmother is 76 years old and the family lives on the grandmother?s pension of US$18 per month. They are living well below the poverty line even in Mongolia.
Although Tsermaa?s medical condition is not life threatening, she suffers everyday. Doctors informed her mother that the strict dietary regime is causing Tsermaa to be underweight and underdeveloped for her age. At 12 years old, she weighs only 20kg and her height is 114cm.
Tsermaa and her mother are scheduled to arrive in Singapore on August 1, 2005 for treatment.
To help Tsermaa, please make cheque payable to: World Vision International
( Mailing Address: Robinson Road P.O. Box 2878 Singapore 904878 )
(please include your name and address on the back on the cheque so that we can issue a receipt to you and indicate for Tsermaa's Surgery, thank you!)