Burn Clinic Struggles for Survival in Egypt

Collection with 15 media items created by Serene Yordi

23 Mar 2013 09:00

The political upheaval of Egypt has not stopped Sister Reyes, 68, and her small team from spending their days treating up to 90 burn victims per day in the rural area of Samalout. In the summer, the numbers reach up to 250. Though Reyes, the driving force behind the clinic’s success, yearns to now return home after 47 years of work, she fears that the cash-strapped clinic will close if she leaves.

With a staff of 12, none of them doctors, and a budget of only $340 a month, the employees have little to work with. Many patients pay little for medical care and those who cannot afford it get it for free. A majority of people in the impoverished governate live in tiny homes, sleeping and cooking in the same overcrowded rooms. Accidents are common. As it is an area with a high number of agricultural workers, many victims also suffer chemical burns. Reyes and her team cannot get many of the drugs in Egypt and rely on people who leave the country to bring it back to replenish their ever-strained stocks. The nun hopes all their efforts will be enough as she can’t bear the thought of it failing if she leaves. “This is my life,” she says.

Burn Burn Victims Egypt Mena Photo Essay Photo Collec... Collection Catholic Chr...

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Burn (1 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

In 1983, Emad Naguib Fawzi was burnt by a paraffin camp stove. He was was treated by Spanish Catholic nun Sister Reyes, forming a bond that has lasted 30 years. Fawzi now helps Reyes run the small burn clinic in the village of Samalout, Egypt.

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Burn (2 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

Even though Samalout and the surrounding Minya province is predominantly Muslim, the clinic serves both Muslim and Christian patients.

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Burn (3 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

Sister Reyes, a Catholic nun, has run a small clinic in Samalout village for more than 20 years. She has been helping Muslim and Christian communities in Egypt for the last 47 years.

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Burn (4 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

Sister Reyes has been working in Egypt for the last 47 years, helping communities throughout the country. Her work in Samalout has helped to address the endemdic issue of burns in rural areas.

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Burn (5 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

The ledger book records the visitors from the clinic. In the summer, there are often more than 250 in a day. Patients can pay a symbolic 5 Egyptian pounds, but many cannot even afford this modest cost.

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Burn (6 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

Emad Fawzi, with the help of Sister Reyes, redresses a burn wound on a two-year old child. Many children are burned from accidents arising out of close living quarters and unsafe cooking practices.

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Burn (7 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

A young child has her burn redressed by volunteer Emad Fawzi. She had burned her arm from hot soup being spilled on her by her mother. Many children are the victims of household burns.

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Burn (8 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

The clinic runs on a modest budget of 2,400 Egyptian pounds per month. However, it is very difficult for the clinic to stock adequate supplies like medications and gloves. Much of the medicine in the clinic comes from donations from people visiting from abroad.

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Burn (9 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

The most vulnerable group to burns are children. Some are burned by parents for misbehaving, whereas others are injured as a result of the cooking area being the same as the sleeping area.

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Burn (10 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

Emad Fawi displays the modest supplies the clinic has at its disposal. Given that he was also a burn victim, he says the fact that he can relate to the pain pushes him to help others.

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Burn (11 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

Photos of patients to the clinic highlight the devastating nature of burns. Initially, many women had been burned by their families, but because of a successful awareness campaign in the village, very few women are now victims of burn related violence in Samalout.

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Burn (12 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

Workers of the clinic take a short break during a lull in visits. During the summer, the clinic treats more than 250 patients per day.

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Burn (13 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

Father Boudros, the patriarch of the area, has been an important advocate of the burn clinic. He has directed funding towards the cause, having also championed reading programs for inmates in the largest prison in the area.

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Burn (14 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

The clinic is stocked with dated supplies to treat patients. Unfortunately, the lack of funding has prevented them from buying necessities such as latex gloves, which help drop the rate of infection significantly.

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Burn (15 of 15)
Samalout, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
23 Mar 2013

A young child is comforted by Sister Reyes as she has her burnt forearm redressed. Many of the of the burns are accidents arising from the cooking area being in the same place as the bedroom.