Case from Afghanistan

3 year old child living far from Faizabad, Wakhan District in Badakhshan Province of North Eastern Afghanistan arrived at the hospital unable to stand or walk from birth and can only say a few words.

The case was sent through to us and was allocated to a Genetics Specialist from Ireland who diagnosed the child with severe rickets which common cause is nutritional and lack of sun. Recommended treatment was Vitamin D and Calcium introduced to the diet

Where the child lives they have no health facilities so have to travel for miles. They still lead a nomadic lifestyle. It often snows in summer and temperatures routinely drop below minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. Their diet is a typical one of high altitude plateaus where nothing much grows apart from grass, artemisia, and some wild onions in summer. It is similar to the diet found among other nomadic societies, like the Tibetans and the Mongolians. They raise mainly goats, sheep and yaks, as well as Bactrian camels and horses. Because there is no wood, fuel is mainly dried dung. Meat is boiled and sometimes fried in yak butter, everything is eaten on the animals. Meat and diary products are the source of their food. There is not enough sun exposure and vegetables due to cloudy and cold temperature.

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