Before we left Ethiopia we were able to meet with Abel and his family. We learned that the family had traveled 600 kilometers for his medical care. At home he had been so disabled that he had had to quit school. He couldn't walk without coughing up blood and getting very short of breath. On the day we saw him, he and his family had walked to the clinic for the first time! He was so excited to get back to school. He would like to become a doctor.
We learned that some of the girls that were supposed to come to be evaluated for the balloon procedure did not come because they were told that if they had the procedure they would never be able to have children. This is of course not true. In fact if they try to have children without having their heart valve fixed, they could die during the pregnancy. The story came from the fact that if they had their valve fixed by surgical valve replacement, they would have to be on blood thinner for the rest of their life and were warned never to get pregnant.
Aziza and her mother were over joyed to learn that her procedure was successful and some day she would be able to have a family.
The patients we were able to do the balloon procedure on are all doing well.