Fitia Smiles Again

Two year old Fitia suffered serious burns in what is an all too common accident in developing nations.

Most houses don’t have electricity or gas or running water, and the way most families cook is on an open fire outside the house. While mothers prepare the food they do their best to keep an eye on their kids, but unfortunately it only takes a moment for an accident to happen.

That’s exactly what happened to little Fitia. A pot of boiling hot water fell on her, leaving the horrified two-year-old with appalling burns. Her family tried antibiotic ointment and visited a traditional healer, who told them to spit on the wound each day. But the poor girl, who was in agony, only got worse. 

In Fitia’s case, it was thanks to the arrival of a medical team from the Africa Mercy that had come to screen patients for surgery on board, that saved her. When the screening team arrived in the village of Mahajanga they had no idea they would be making a home visit, but when they heard Fitia’s heartbreaking story they could not refuse.

Mirjam Plomb, director of the screening team, realised that Fitia would probably not survive without immediate medical care, and so they decided to fly her back to the ship with the help of our partner in Madagascar, Mission Aviation Fellowship, who use planes to transform the lives of the world's most isolated people in need.

Fitia endured painful debriding, countless bandage changes and physiotherapy to strengthen her neck muscles. At first Fitia would cry. However, the soft touch and warm smiles of the Mercy Ships medical team won Fitia over, and soon she was smiling too! Her mother wept tears of joy and thanksgiving that her daughter was alive.

A few months later Mirjam said goodbye to Fitia. The antibiotics and several surgeries had done their job and now this little Malagasy girl was able to return home to her family with a much brighter outlook for her future than when she first arrived. Thanks to the partnership between Mercy Ships and Mission Aviation Fellowship, this cheerful little girl now has a big smile on her face.