An Australian nurse helps a South Sudanese infant fight to live

  • Jessica holds Nyanene during a quiet moment as the girl’s mother snaps her fingers. Nyanene was hospitalized in Maiwut, South Sudan for a case of pneumonia exacerbated by malnutrition.
    CC BY-NC-ND / Albert Gonzalez Farran / ICRC
  • In the middle of the morning, as the heat was beginning to rise, Nyanene stopped breathing. The ICRC and South Sudanese medical team jumped into action to revive the 5-month-old, whom Jessica referred to as “a fighter of a little girl.”
    CC BY-NC-ND / Albert Gonzalez Farran / ICRC
  • Once stabilized, Nyanene clung on to Jessica, who monitored the girl’s breathing. Medical staff quietly said the situation was grave.
    CC BY-NC-ND / Albert Gonzalez Farran / ICRC
  • Jessica pauses for a moment after a busy, stress-filled morning to eat an orange. It was the calm before the storm.
    CC BY-NC-ND / Albert Gonzalez Farran / ICRC
  • The Maiwut hospital runs on generator power, and the machine cut out briefly. This shut down Nyanene’s oxygen flow, and the child stopped breathing. Jessica and Gbang, a South Sudanese nurse, performed CPR for 15 minutes. But the child never recovered.
    CC BY-NC-ND / Albert Gonzalez Farran / ICRC
  • Jessica reaches out to Nyanene’s mother to console the now-childless 20-year-old. Jessica left the hospital with tears falling down her cheeks. It’s unfair, she said, that Nyanene was born into a land with no food. “Why her? Anyone but her. I have spent so much time with her,” Jessica said. It’s an emotionally draining day, one that will leave a long mark. But it’s also the reason she and the medical staff are here: to fight to save lives. Jessica has since left South Sudan and is currently part of an ICRC surgical team in Afghanistan.
    CC BY-NC-ND / Albert Gonzalez Farran / ICRC
07 March 2017

The infant's eyes showed she was a fighter. Jessica Hazelwood, a pediatric nurse from Australia, met Nyanene, a small, underweight child in South Sudan. And the two bonded. Jessica spent weeks with the child, and worked with the infant to try to help her overcome her pneumonia and malnutrition. This short photo story captures the intensity, emotion and effort that Jessica – like many of the women in the field across the ICRC – pours into her work every day.

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