On October 29 last year we received this picture from Dr. Romulo Rivero Urquiza, doctor of the INTEGRAL PRIMARY CARE PROGRAM SAFCI – MI SALUD  (MI HEALTH)  at La Emboscada Health Center of the Municipality of San Borja, Beni Department. His sector is composed of 21 communities, twenty of them Tsimanes indigenous communities, with a total population of 3,549 inhabitants.

A new patient, Fernanda, had come to his office. Her mother had brought the girl for a medical checkup. Fernanda was born with 4. 07 lbs (pounds) because her mother had suffered of Preclampsia during pregnancy and because of this she was born prematurely; the girl in addition to her low weight had been born with Clubfoot (she was walking with her deformed feet).

When Dr. Urquiza saw that the future would be difficult for Fernanda, the little girl who was already two and half years old and couldn’t wear shoes or walk normally, he decided to ask for help. He has contacted ASDEIH-Bolivia, asking if it will be possible that we could help this girl.

In a week, different organizations were contacted here in Santa Cruz. Though the Rotary Club, some doctors were contacted with whom we worked together with the same purpose in mind “To see Fernanda walking”.

Through the Dr. Ximena Trujillo (Rotary Club Sirari) and Mr. Livio Zozzoli (Rotary Club Grigota) we were able to contact Dr. Roberto Vergara (Orthopedist and Child Traumatologist). Who by the grace of God gave his time and experience to work for months doing Fernanda’s treatment. It consisted of putting a cast on the feet and changing it every week for 7 or 8 weeks, in order to help the bones to relocate, then the girl will need an Achilles tendon  surgery.

Here, this picture was taken at the Figueroa Clinic after the first week that the girl uses the cast (Friday, November 23).  The doctor was removing it, the process wasn’t easy because Fernanda cried a lot; this procedure was repeated eight more times until the doctor said the bones had been relocated and the feet were ready for surgery.

Every week it was beautiful to see the progress of the treatment when the doctor finished putting the cast, the feet were straighter.

Fernanda and her parents arrived in Santa Cruz by bus, this took more than the 20 hours;  Fernanda on the bus had become very sick of eating fast food, for almost two weeks after, she was still vomiting what she eats; the girl was getting thinner and weaker.

On Friday, December 7, it was the third time that Dr. Vergara changed the cast to Fernanda. But, two days later, Sunday early in the morning, Yanine (Fernanda’s mother) sent me a picture, one of Fernanda’s feet had swollen, we immediately called the doctor, who opened the cast that morning.  Doctor then recommended consulting with a pediatrician.

The next morning we had an appointment at the Pro Salud Clinic with the pediatrician Irma Rojas (who also donate her time to see the girl), when we arrived at the office Fernanda already had both swollen feet, her mother had opened the cast that night because the girl was crying because of the great pain. Both doctors (Vergara and Rojas) said the problem was malnutrition, the girl didn’t have enough protein and if the malnutrition problem was not solved, the inflammation problem would continue.

The Dr. Rojas after examining Fernanda immediately sent her to the emergency room to put multivitamin IV fluid for 3 hours. Fernanda was weighing only 22 lbs, the normal weight for a 2 and half year old girl is 30 lbs. Also, Dr. Rojas put her on a special diet and gave the order to give her milk 3 times a day (For months Fernanda had not drunk milk at home due the poor family resources).

After publishing Fernanda’s situation in the media, thank God, we received a donation of  $ 152  to help Fernanda. With Xavier, a volunteer, we were able to buy different things for her as milk, cereals, oatmeal, lento, quinoa, olive oil, vegetables, green apples, chicken, diapers and milk bottle and take them to the house where they were staying with some relatives during the treatment.

January 10 was the last cast that the Dr. Vergara changed, the movement of the feet and the relocating of the bones showed that the next step was the surgery of the Achilles tendon. Everybody was happy when the last cast was taken off.

On January 25, at 11:00 am, it was the appointment for the Fernanda’s surgery; laboratory studies and cardiac control were fine, Dr. Rojas and anesthetist approved the surgery. The girl weighed 26.45 lbs and she was on the limit of anemia. The surgery lasted 1 and half hour and on the afternoon of the same day, Fernanda was discharged from the Figueroa Clinic.

Fernanda came out of surgery with a cast, every week the girl had to return the Figueroa Clinic for feet control. Meanwhile Dr. Vergara requested orthopedic shoes with a fixation bar.  Gascon Orthopedics, who was in charge of manufacturing the fixation bar, sent us to Ciro Chavez’s workshop, which custom-made leather orthopedic shoes. Thank to Rotary Club Grigota for help us with these shoes.

On February 21, after the cast was removed, Fernanda began using the orthopedic shoes permanently, 23 hours a day during 3 months. The Dr. scheduled the next appointment for feet control in 3 months and said that after that date, Fernanda would begin walking during the day and wear shoes with the fixation bar during the night.

The next day, Fernanda and her parents returned home, in Beni Department, with the tickets paid by a donor.

Three weeks ago, July 10, Fernanda with her parents , Yanine and Daniel, returned from El Beni for feet control. The parents were aloud the girl to walk during the day, one month ago; it hadn’t been possible for the family to returned before to Santa Cruz due to the birth of Abdiel and the lack of money for bus tickets.

Officially, at the appointment, Dr. Vergara said Fernanda can walk during the day, but at night she needs to continue using the shoes with the fixation bar until she is 5 years old. 

FERNANDA IS WALKING! Her mother had told me at the beginning of the treatment that she wanted to buy shoes for Fernanda, because all the time when they passed in front of a Shoe Shop, the girl kept looking at the beautiful little shoes, which for her was impossible to use;  but THANK GOD EVERYTHING CHANGE, now Fernanda can use the most beautiful little shoes she wants.

Today, especially we want to give thanks to God, who was the one who guided all things, who put each doctor in a timely manner, so that together we could work a miracle to give this precious girl a future and a hope!

We thank each Doctor infinitely for his/her dedication and generosity to Fernanda and her family.

Many thanks to all the people who made this dream come true through their prayers and financial donations!


Miguel & Mirta Dupertuis Farias