Like many seven-year-olds, Abdulbari’s eyes shine with an innate curiosity and excitement about the world. Sharp and chatty, Abdulbari is a natural conversationalist, asking questions about anything and everything, particularly football, his favourite pastime. When not in the classroom, Abdulbari can be found in the playground, kicking around a ball with friends of all ages.
In many ways, Abdulbari is no different to any other seven-year-old, until you notice he’s missing his right arm and right leg.
Two years ago, Abdulbari and his family were caught up in the fighting that has scoured their hometown of Aden, Yemen. He was five years’ old at the time, only three days into his first week at school. Abdulbari was asleep at home with his parents, his siblings and a cousin when an explosion hit their house. Every member of the family was struck by shrapnel. Abdulbari lost his right arm and right leg, and badly damaged his left leg. His brother, Saleh, received the worst of the injuries.
The family was taken by paramedics to the MSF hospital in Aden, where they were treated for several months. Unfortunately, Saleh succumbed to his wounds.
Abdulbari’s doctors and parents decided that he should continue his treatment at the MSF Reconstructive Surgery Programme (RSP) in Amman, Jordan. There, he would receive specialised care to help him regain his independence.
In Amman, doctors were able to perform a successful adjustment surgery on Abdulbari’s injured left leg, greatly increasing his mobility. Abdulbari was also chosen to receive a prosthetic arm and leg, created using a 3D printer, a faster and lower-cost alternative to conventional prosthetics. The prosthetics were customised to fit his needs and he has taken to them very well, perhaps too well, given that he broke one of his new fingers in a football game – as a typical seven-year-old might.
Abdulbari has also been able to finally start school; MSF runs classes for the children staying at the RSP, with a customised curriculum to cater to each student’s needs. He is learning how to read and is practicing his motor-skills to enable him to write with his left hand. It is a challenge, but one that Abdulbari and his family are optimistic he will meet.
With the support of our generous donors and supporters, MSF is able to take a holistic and long-term approach to patient care at the RSP. Whether it is through cutting-edge technological solutions, such as 3D printing, or providing customised schooling, the RSP continues to prioritise the improvement of its patients’ quality of life.