By Dr. Lanang Angga

It is a Monday morning in March, 8 o’clock, another busy day at our Klinik Bali Sehat. The waiting area is full of patients of all ages. My first patient today is a little girl, who tries to hide behind her mom. She is too shy to tell me her name and from the look of her behind her mask I estimate her age at around 6 years. When I ask her mother it turns out that the girl’s name is Komang and she is 12 years old. I am stunned. She is by far the smallest child of that age I have ever seen.

When Komang takes off her mask and I can examine her more closely it becomes clear that her physical underdevelopment is not an isolated issue. Her ability to speak is very limited and I am already determined to send her to a pediatrician for further examinations. However, this is not the reason why the mother took Komang to see me today.

Her ears hurt and itch, the mother tells me. Reluctantly, the little girl lets me check her ears. They are full of wax which I tell them and that I can easily clean them. Komang looks scared and close to tears. I assure her that it will not hurt and that she will get a doll after we have finished. This calms her down and I can clean out her ears and give her some ear drops. When she takes her doll from me she smiles brightly and leaves the clinic with her mom looking a lot happier than when she came.

On Thursday, 4 days later, I see Komang with her doll, her mother and another child at the entrance to the clinic. When I ask them if everything is alright they all smile and nod and the mother explains that Komang simply wanted to drop in and say thank you to the nice doctor and show him her little sister.

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