Towards the age of eight years Mohammed suddenly fell ill with severe fevers. It was a problem with Meningitis or typhoid fever but his family did not have the finances to call for a doctor. After almost dying the little boy’s health recovered but not without after effects. He was now profoundly deaf, no longer able to talk and handicapped for life. This happens often leaving children seriously disabled to the great distress of their parents.
In Morocco one finds many disabled people yet their condition is not only due to disease. There are also accidents. Many accident victims do not have access to a hospital and therefore they suffer much more significant consequences to their accident than would be normal. There are also genetic reasons for handicaps. In Morocco and many other Muslim countries relatively close cousins are encouraged to marry. These marriages where relatively close blood lines cross can give birth to disabled children through genetic deformation.
Problems to be faced in Morocco
There are also problems during pregnancy and childbirth which may handicap someone for life. Unfortunately secretive abortion practices after rape sometimes cause a disabled child to be born. The young girls who attempt such practices are often terrorised by the thought of being discovered pregnant knowing that in some countries it is a crime to be found pregnant outside of marriage.
In Morocco there has recently been increased concern over the plight of the disabled. They are presently doing a national census in order to identify all the nation’s disabled. The magnitude of the problem is well beyond the ability of the government to react to and they are also welcoming outside aid agencies to help improve the life of the disabled and handicapped.
* May God’s consolation come upon those families who are suffering. Pray especially for mothers who often have the daily responsibility of caring for their disabled children.
* May God intervene to help eliminate old traditions. There is an urgent need for a decrease in the number of close kin marriages (consanguine marriages). Close-kin marriages introduce genetic weaknesses which actually destroy family lines.
* May the testimony of Christians who work in aid organisations be fruitful impacting whole families by the love and compassion of God.