Today marks the start of a new beginning as 26-year-old Hervé takes his first steps with his freshly fitted artificial limb leg. It has been several months now since his right foot was seriously injured in an armed attack in Bambari this past February, changing Hervé’s life dramatically.
At the time of the incident, Hervé was taken to the hospital and told that they would have to amputate the lower part of his leg, but he refused.
“I was so afraid of losing my leg and of the consequences it would have on my life. I thought I would become a burden to my family and I didn’t want that,” Hervé said.
After his refusal, the hospital was going to discharge him, despite the life-threatening risks his injury posed. It had become infected and was increasingly urgent to amputate. It was then that HI specialists, who were also present at the hospital in Bambari, learned of Hervé’s case and intervened.
Over the course of a week, HI’s mental health specialists counseled Hervé and helped him to overcome his fears, while educating him on the severity of his situation. With his newfound understanding and the necessary psychosocial support, he made the life-saving decision to undergo the amputation.
In the period that followed, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) provided Hervé with a wound dressing kit to facilitate his recovery, and he regularly received care by HI physical therapists while continuing psychosocial support. His transportation costs to and from therapy were also covered by HI, to ensure that he had access to the care he needed.
When the time finally came for Hervé to take the next step in his recovery, HI brought him to Bangui to be fitted for a prosthesis at ANRAC, the only fitting center in the country. Hervé has spent every morning this week making molds and testing models at the center, all leading up to this moment where he can finally begin to walk with his new artificial limb.
“I’m so happy,” says Hervé. “It has been so difficult to get around without a artificial limb. I hope, for myself and my family, that I will be able to walk normally again soon so that I can go back to living the way I used to. I see that little by little, I’m becoming mobile again and for that I thank HI.”
Previously, Hervé’s job opportunities were limited. He works shining shoes along the main road in the city, but makes very little income. With his newfound mobility, Hervé is eager to start a new job as a mobile pharmaceutical vendor, walking tall around the neighborhoods of Bambari.