children in France have had surgery thanks to our buddy programme
Buddy program for hospitalised children
Many children are hospitalised in the Paris region, Guyana and Réunion for medical conditions that cannot be treated close to their homes. Some, sometimes from challenging backgrounds, are not fortunate enough to be able to be accompanied by their parents. However, doctors confirm that emotional support is absolutely crucial to the psychological well-being of unaccompanied children.
Some, child are not accompanied by their parents.
Amadou, aged 10 days. Senegal
Amadou was born in Paris. Just two days after birth, he had to undergo surgery for a malformation of the intestine detected during his mother’s pregnancy. But his parents were forced to return to Dakar when he was only 10 days old because their visas had expired. All alone, Amadou now has to have a transplant of the small intestine. The wait for a donor and period of convalescence are expected to be very long, all the more so without the comforting presence of his parents.
Ranya, aged 15 months. Morocco
Ranya was born with a heart defect and suffers from severe breathing difficulties. Her mother accompanied her to the hospital in Paris where she has undergone several operations. Ranya now needs to spend three months in observation but, as her older sister and her twin in Morocco miss their mother and need her too, her mother has had to go back home, leaving her baby alone in France.
What we do
Doctors of the World calls on its team of volunteer buddies to reach out to children forced to spend time in hospital a long way from their homes and families and help them through the period of separation. These volunteers also provide valuable support to accompanying parents who can find it difficult to cope. First launched in 1988 at Paris children’s hospital Hôpital Necker, MdM’s buddy programme for hospitalised children has been extended to various other healthcare facilities in the Paris region, Guyana and Réunion.
Providing support and comfort for sick children
Supporting unaccompanied children throughout their stay in sometimes more than one hospital helps to lessen the psychological impact caused from a lack of affection. In order for these children to find the inner resources to better cope with their illness, our buddy programme has to be initiated as quickly as possible.
Volunteer buddies visit the children entrusted to their care three times a week, take them out when they are well enough and sometimes even accompany them on their journey home.
Building bridges between unaccompanied children, their families and medical teams
While our volunteers stand in for parents unable to stay with their children, they can also help maintain and even re-establish a bond with families.
Sadly, in 15% of cases, our volunteers are called in to provide end-of-life support for terminally ill children, further enhancing the necessary synergy between volunteers and medical teams during very difficult times.
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