Najibullah, or “Naji”, was eight years old when he was struck by a flare near his home in Afghanistan on a summer day in 2011. The flare caused extensive injury to his abdominal wall and small intestines. His hospital course has been long and complicated, requiring multiple procedures at US Forces and Coalition Forces Hospitals to remove damaged intestine and repair his abdominal wall. By early 2012, he was fairly stable, yet today Naji’s condition remains very serious.
His injuries are so extensive that he was left with an insufficient amount of bowel for him to maintain nutrition, called “short gut syndrome,” as well as the inability to close his abdominal wall. He had a skin graft placed directly over his bowel. In February 2014, he underwent yet another surgery to remove additional diseased bowel, further magnifying his problem.
The members of the 8th Forward Surgical Team (FST) in Gelan, Afghanistan care for Naji. He has become a part of daily life at the care facility and brings military personnel stationed overseas joy with his pleasant and sweet demeanor. Despite his condition, he always finds the energy to share hugs and kisses with everyone. He loves soccer. His favorite cartoon is G.I. JOE. In his short time at US Forces Hospitals he has learned to speak fluent English.
“Naji is a sweet 10 year old Afghan child with a tragic story: he was injured during a conflict between coalition forces with the Taliban, leaving him with a devastating abdominal injury.
He now has insufficient bowel to maintain his nutrition and health. He requires daily treatments of intravenous fluids just to prevent dehydration. His malnutrition worsens daily. He is in desperate need of a bowel lengthening procedure before his health declines any further. His caregivers here in Afghanistan, of the 8th Forward Surgical Team, US Army, are willing to seek any means necessary to help this child receive the treatment he needs. He has won our hearts, and we hope to give him the future he deserves,” stated Major Kevin Clive, MD, General Surgeon, 8th FST.
Naji was recently evaluated by various specialists including a pediatric surgeon who has recommended a complex bowel lengthening procedure to treat his rare condition. Successful treatment at an Afghan medical facility is not possible because of a lack of resources and knowledge of medical staff. Such procedures are only performed at special centers with capabilities of performing complex pediatric surgeries
Solace for the Children is a NC-based non-profit humanitarian organization that seeks assistance for children affected by war. They are taking on the difficult task of raising funds to support Naji’s travel to the US for this surgery, arranging his medical care and providing lodging for him while he receives medical care. A minimum of $12,000 is needed to transport the young man to the US.
Executive Director Patsy Wilson says, “At Solace for the Children we do all that we can when opportunities to partner with our military arise. We understand that while they are serving our country overseas, they become involved within the communities where they are stationed. It is apparent that Naji has touched the lives of many while being cared for and we want to do all that we can to give him a chance to survive.”
As you might imagine, the 8th FST family is anxious to get him to the US as soon as possible, where he can receive the care he needs and find some relief for his tragic condition. Please make a tax-deductible gift today to assist in their efforts by going to www.solaceforthechildren.org. Notate your gift as for Naji. Also checkout his page on Facebook www.facebook.com/relieffornaji.