‘I can’t do anything’: One baby’s losing battle with tuberculosis


February 15, 2016

Children in the blockaded, rebel-held East Ghouta suburbs are contracting tuberculosis, polio and other preventable diseases because they have no access to vaccinations.

One mother in Ghouta, Umm Muhammad, tells Syria Direct’s Bahira al-Zarier the story of her youngest son Osama, now nine months old.

The infant recently began to lose weight and came down with a fever and cough. The diagnosis? Tuberculosis.  

After his birth, Umm Muhammad tried to get baby Osama vaccinated at the local medical centers in East Ghouta’s Deir al-Asafir, 10km southeast of Damascus. But the available vaccines had run out, says Umm Muhammad.

“I can’t do anything for him and his condition continues to deteriorate.”

Q: How has the vaccine shortage impacted you and your family?

My youngest child Osama, who’s nine months old, started to lose weight, to cough and came down with a fever. I took him to the medical center and the doctor diagnosed him with tuberculosis.

The doctor asked me if I had taken him to get the tuberculosis vaccine after he was born. I told him I hadn’t because there were only enough vaccines for half of the children in the city at the time.

I am afraid that my other four children will come down with tuberculosis because the bacteria spread through the air.

I can’t do anything for him and his condition continues to deteriorate.

The Syrian regime and the entire world have given up on Syria’s children. They have left them to die of hunger, disease and bombardment.

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