Fleur the two-year-old donkey transports waste from Bamako, Mali’s capital city, to the rubbish dump in Badalabougou. On the busy streets, she already risks her life dodging traffic while pulling a heavy rubbish cart.
This difficult and dangerous work supports her owner, Ali, and his four children.
At the dump, there is even more risk. Lurking in the piles of twisted metal and rotting rubbish are sinister bacteria that cause tetanus. The bacteria need only a tiny break in the skin to get into Fleur’s thin body and flood her nervous system with toxins.
It’s hard for Fleur to balance on the mountains of rubbish as she pulls her heavy cart. As she tried to steady herself one day, Fleur stepped on a nail sticking up from discarded wood, piercing the soft part of her foot.
Blood oozed out of Fleur’s foot as she limped. It was a small wound, but deep and excruciating – the perfect entrance to the body tetanus bacteria needs to cause catastrophic problems.
Limping through ankle-deep waste, the cart Fleur pulled felt heavier and heavier as she grew weaker from the pain. Every step stung and put Fleur at increased risk of tetanus. She needed urgent help before her deep wound became infected and put her life in danger.
Luckily, Ali had seen the SPANA mobile clinic, which visits the rubbish dump weekly, and he brought her there to get help.
Our vets got to work cleaning and disinfecting Fleur’s wound. They gave her anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the painful swelling. Crucially, they also gave Fleur a preventative and lifesaving anti-tetanus vaccination to stop the lethal infection before it could take over her body.
Ali was so grateful for the treatment Fleur received.
“Fleur is very important to me,” he said. “Thanks to Fleur, I can feed my children. I thank SPANA who are doing good work.”