In the spotlight Children

Dreams uninterrupted

TRANSCENDING BOUNDARIES: Bringing healing. Photo: Special Arrangement

TRANSCENDING BOUNDARIES: Bringing healing. Photo: Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Photo: Special Arrangement

Dr. Shiny Kaki has served in battle zones and epidemic ridden places. She brings with her the hope of cure and health.

Dr. Shiny Kaki, is no ordinary general physician. This 30-year-old has hidden in a makeshift refugee tent to escape robbers in sub-Saharan Africa, treated people suffering from leprosy, and also attended to those injured in conflict zones.

Curing epidemics

After completing her MBBS at Christian Medical College in Vellore, Tamil Nadu in 2009, she decided to spend two years in rural service, in a leprosy hospital in Allahabad. She and her team have cured many patients.

As part of her research on leprosy, she observed that patients, despite noticing symptoms, wouldn’t openly seek treatment due to the stigma of the disease. They wouldn’t come for follow up treatments, or take care of their limbs. They waited until the ulcer got bigger, needed urgent medical intervention and surgery. Leprosy is curable where the first dose of anti-bacteria can kill upto 90% of the bacteria.

No limitations

Buoyed by her success, she joined Doctors without Borders in 2013. Also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Doctors without Borders is an independent international humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency medical aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters or exclusion from health care in more than 60 countries.

Her first project at MSF was at Werder, a town in eastern Ethiopia. It is a civil-conflict zone where crossfire is common. She worked with HIV and TB patients and in the paediatric ward.

Two years ago, in 2015 in Yemen, in the wake of the civil war, there was a severe decline in sanitation, absence of clean food, safe drinking water and medical supplies, leading to an outbreak of cholera. Shiny was posted at a cholera treatment centre.

Challenges

Local staff at the camp, mostly men, refused to follow Shiny’s orders or corrections while handling patients because she was young, and a woman. There were times when I wanted to take action against the Ministry of Health employees, but I was told to be lenient. My loyalty lies with my patient first, not the staff, and I stood my ground,” she said in an interview.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 9:07:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/dreams-uninterrupted/article19669904.ece

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