'Vulnerable Being'

'Vulnerable Being'
The winner of the Wellcome Photography Prize 2020 Medicine in Focus category by Julia Gunther & Sophia Mohammed© Julia Gunther and Sophia

Hadia Mundri, South Sudan, 2018

Four-month-old Hadia was born with spina bifida, hydrocephalus (fluid in the brain) and club foot. Sophia, a community rehabilitation expert, is showing her mother, Zaina, a treatment called the Ponseti method, which uses stretches and casts to correct Hadia’s feet. Birth defects like Hadia’s often result from a lack of folic acid during early pregnancy. Hydrocephalus, which causes the child’s head to swell, is common in parts of South Sudan, but a sense of stigma surrounding the condition can deter parents from seeking treatment. Surgery and physiotherapy can help, although access may be hard, and better nutrition – like adding folic acid supplements to staple foods – can prevent it

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