As I was walking towards the hospital, a little girl with a huge smile on her face is looking up at me along the road. She looks familiar so I stop as mom seems to have a question. Mom was headed to the lab to get her daugther’s blood work done and had a question for me. When I looked at the daughter’s book, my eyes changed from confused to recollection as I realized I knew this little one.
I met Joice a year ago, when she was 3.5 years old. She wasn’t talking much and was kind of short for her age. We made the diagnosis of congenital hypothyroidism and started her on thyroid replacement therapy. In just a few months, we started to see some changes, she started talking more and thankfully hasn’t stopped. Despite living far away, mom has been faithful in returning for her meds every few months and Joice has benefited from it.
Joice is almost 4.5 years old now and is quite talkative and happy, and I am thankful for that. We don’t always catch conditions early in PNG, but with Joice, I think we got it in time and she should continue to growth and develop in line with her peers. Without this diagnosis, Joice wouldn't have grown, wouldn't have talked, and would have been mentally challenged her whole life. Instead her life should be pretty normal, because Nazarene Hospital exists and has the blood test available to make this diagnosis and thus make a difference in lives like Joice's.