Friday, April 10, 2015

HIV in Children of Tripoli Libya

Light at the end of the tunnel, TMC style :) Tripoli, Libya 2014
After those vivid adventures years , here I am back .. Working again with my most loved creatures, kids! But not any kids ...

About one year ago I joined the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Department ( PIDD), it is a relatively small and new department ( only a couple of years old) taking care of children having infected with or been exposed to Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) !

Indeed, it is very interesting field ... before working in this place, I knew that we have HIV in Libya but I was not really aware of the magnitude of the spread of the illness.

When I first started working in pediatrics in Tripoli Medical Center in the early 2000s we did not have a special place to deal with HIV kids, we didn't even have a Pediatric infectious disease department , only we had a small out patient care clinic for it .. But now we have! Thanks to those doctors who made this a reality.
The main source of HIV, according to statistics we have in Tripoli is intravenous drug addictions ... But as everywhere else it's not the only source .. Sexual transmission is also a significant source in our very conservative society!!! And when I say sexual, I mean to include not only sex outside of marriage and between homo, but also between husband and wife when one of them is infected ...

In children the main source of transmission is mother to child , but we do have a few heart-aching cases, where we have only one child in the family is infected, while his/her parents and siblings are free of HIV.. Most of these single family member cases have a history of hospital admission in Tripoli in the late 1990s ( suggesting a nosocomial acquired infection, i.e, getting infection from hospital) .. Which for me put a big question mark on the integrity of the health care system at that times. Thankfully, since the opening of the pediatric infectious department no more nosocomial infections were reported in children.

Working with HIV specially in a population like ours, opens a very different window on the society. It opens a window on the most sensitive social fabric in the community. Where all the fakes disappear and the ugliness of the society shows its face with no veils. Most of the times you deal with the executioner and the victim at the same time.. Beside, you genuinely can not decide who is really the victim. Is it the patient or the surrounding environment? The same environment created by everyone in the community, including you!

The other day, I was thinking and questioning with myself, what we are really doing? I believe in the effectiveness of our work, and it is good with tawfiq from Allah, but it is not complete. Yes, we treat the infected kids and make them live almost normal life, and even more we have completely healthy babies with infected parents ( by following the program of prophylaxis for the exposed babies born to HIV positive mothers.) Yet, we send some of these kids back to the same bad environment that made their parents infected. It's needless to say that addicted parents will more likely raise addicted children, with the absence of external intervention.

Moreover, when there is a child abuse we have no authority in our country to take that child from his/her caregivers, nor we have alternative options to move the child to be in a safe place. This will almost lead sooner or later to a failure of our treatment for the infected child.

We have many ideas in mind as a solution for this, need to be done, but because of the unstable situations we have, our progress is miniature. Nevertheless, we don't lose hope, as a team in our department, and despite the absence of social support for our patients, plus the absence of real support from charity organizations to these kind of patients, we still struggle to make our efforts stand solid to support these children as the best we can for them to face the world, healthy and strong.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Faith, belief, and forgiveness !

Rosslyn, Virginia ... May, 2011

She knew more than she should ...

that might be fine in other place and in another time .. 
but here, at this place and in this particular time , if someone knew more than he should, he .. without question .. will ruin things up .. 

When you knew, you can not forgive, and when you fail to forgive, you will never be able to believe! 
For me, those who can't forgive, their faith is always questionable! ... 

Only if ...
you keep your root deep ..
you keep your belief strengthened ..
your heart will be open to knowledge .. 
forgiveness will ensues ..
and faith will prosper .. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Little Wonder!

Some great moments of little wonder can give you enormous energy to continue your walk in this tough path of life

Tiny little moments that can fuel you for years or even decades to come

This was one of my little life wonders, the moment of spotting this Hummingbird in the wildness of Palm Spring California

Recalling the scene of the small colorful bird

Flapping it's wings

With racing heartbeats

Sinking it's face

Dipping it's long beak

To reach deep into the funnel shaped flower

Drinking from it's nectar

To quench it's thirst

And leave you watching wide eyed with AWE the life blossom right in front of you!

Those little wonder moments can not be bought nor can it be sold
It only with the bless of Allah can be owned and enjoyed forever

Captured by Hisham Bumedian Mar 1st 2013 

The best quote about wonder I would like to share here with you as it speaks my mind. It was told by Andrew Stanton, the writer behind the three "Toy Story" movies and the writer/director of "WALL-E," and Finding NEMO, in one of his TED talk:

"I walked out of there wide-eyed with wonder.

And that's what I think the magic ingredient is,

the secret sauce,

is can you invoke wonder.

Wonder is honest,

it's completely innocent.

It can't be artificially evoked.

For me, there's no greater ability than the gift of another human being giving you that feeling....

to hold them still just for a brief moment in their day

and have them surrender to wonder.

When it's tapped,

the affirmation of being alive,

it reaches you almost to a cellular level."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

كلمة طُويت ...

أضواء وأنوار
فرح ومرح
رقص وضحك
هزيج وضجيج
لذة منتشرة
أقداح وكؤوس
سكرة فصحوة

سكون مطبق
أنفاس مضطربة
حشرجة مختنقة
ألمٌ ألم
دموع متحجرة
بصرٌ شَخَصْ 
عقل ذهل
روح انتزعت

نساء وأطفال
بكاء وعويل
أخرق يحكم
أرعن يجيب
نزاع وصراخ
رصاص يُطلق
كلمة تُكسر
هيبة تنتكس

صمت مربك
باب يغلق
نافذة تُفتح
سماء صافية
ليلة هادئة
قمر ونور
نجمة سقطت
وأخرى لاحت

قطرات ماء 
سقطت من السماء 
انتشر عطر
وانتعش زهر
انتفض إنس
رفع الهمة
رسم خطوتين
صبر ونصيحة
ثبتت الوثيقة

و .. رأت الحقيقة