David Anthony Tikimo boards the MAF Caravan in Juba, South Sudan, together with boxes of medication and a young girl who, two weeks prior, had tested positive with the Hepatitis B virus.
‘Haeomoptysis is a very serious condition, so I took her with me to my clinic in Juba for further treatment,’ Dr. David explains, ‘she responded well to the medication, and I have now taken her with me on the MAF plane to bring her back to her parents in Ibba. Her condition has improved greatly, and she will be able to resume her studies.’
‘Haeomoptysis is a very serious condition. She responded well to the medication, and I have now taken her with me on the MAF plane to bring her back to her parents in Ibba.' Dr David Anthony Tikimo
When Dr Tikimo started his voluntary work, he discovered that the Hepatitis virus was widespread and especially prevalent in the small villages around Ibba. Hepatitis can be infectious, and once a family member has the virus it can spread and eventually kill the rest of the family.
That’s when Dr Tikimo decided to begin focussing on screening people in certain areas. Ahead of him was a big task of vaccinating those who were not infected and to instruct and treat those who were, whilst sharing knowledge on how to prevent further spread of the disease.
With advanced stages of hepatitis untreatable is South Sudan, and treatment unaffordable for the majority of the population, immunisation is of paramount importance.
At the health centre people wait outside by the scores with many sheltering from the sun in the narrow passageway leading to the outpatient’s ward.
Outside a man calls out individual names and one by one patients receive their vaccination. Pilot Wim Hobo volunteers to assist with registering the patients.
'The level of infected people was much higher than anticipated,' Dr. Tikimo says. 'We are now increasing the screening programme and engaging more people to assist with testing and vaccinations.'
MAF will be returning to Ibba to fly Dr David Tikimo back to Juba.