Feeling Healthy and Happy After Seven Years: Abdurrahman’s Story

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Seven-year-old Abdurrahman Ali, a child from Gode town in Shebelle zone of the Somali region in Ethiopia, was born with a “corn-size swelling” inside his left armpit, his mother, Osob Seni Mohammed, said. When he turned two, “it got as big as a lemon and at three, it doubled,” stretching all the way to the left side of his chest. 

A poor mother of six children, Osobo has had little means to help her son’s situation. She says her husband had mild mental health issues for more than two years and he is in no way to help the family’s impoverished condition.  So Osob just allowed for the outgrowth in her son to keep bulging out under her watch. She only took him to a public hospital when he was three, and Abdurrahman underwent a surgery. 

For a while, Abdurrahman looked like he recovered and felt like playing with his friends with more ease. But a few months after the procedure, his mother said “the swelling actually grew at a faster pace and turned as big as a ball.” Abdurrahman was back to his low mood. “My friends were always teasing me. They often said ‘Abdurrahman is holding a ball’. I did not want to go out and play with them again,” he remembered. 

When Osob took her son to Gode Hospital again, the doctor told her son’s chest tumour is beyond their help. A poor mother who struggles to make ends meet, washing clothes for her few customers, Osob felt hopeless. “There was nothing else I could have done,” she said. 

Abdurrahman (front), now plays around with his friends.

It was during this period of despair that a lady in Osob’s neighbourhood who is spouse of a Save the Children staff showed solidarity and wanted to help. She told her husband about Abdurrahman’s ordeal. Her husband in turn brought the boy’s situation to Save the Children’s attention. The Child Safeguarding Unit with Save the Children Country Office in Ethiopia contacted Kjell Magne (Dr.), Director and CEO for Nordic Medical Centre (NMC) in Addis Abeba.  With Save the Children UK’s financial support, Abdurrahman was brought to NMC in Addis Abeba and underwent a major surgery. Save the Children also covered his mother’s expenses while in Addis. 

Back in Gode, Abdurrahman is doing great now. “I have no pain and I am happy to be able to play without my friends teasing me,” he said. His mother said “I have no words to thank Save the Children enough. Abdurrahman is truly happy now like other children. He is also as active as any child.

I wish I was able to send my children to school. I specially want Abdurrahman to learn and become a physician and be able to help children the way he was helped,” Osob aspires.