National Geographic : 2000 Apr
Nature's Medicine in Action Photographer Lynn Johnson's account of a burn victim's amazing recovery I had been photographing at Manongarivo clinic in Madagascar, documenting the rural facility's unique blend of traditional and Western medicine. But it took an emergency to show me how effective this collab oration can be. It began with spine chilling screams, as a vil lager rushed in with her badly burned child, a tod dler named Natacha. The girl had been playing out side the door, the mother explained, and she had accidentally tossed a pot of scalding water on her. Dr. Jean Berthin Tida, a Western-trained physician, examined the girl's blis tered abdomen and diag nosed the burns as third degree. He then conferred with the clinic's traditional heal er, an herbalist named Ndrona lahy, who after examining the burns left to col lect a plant from the forest. Even in the most ster ile, modern facil ities, children with such burns often do not survive. I wondered if Natacha would make it. Soon Ndronalahy re turned with a length of liana. He blew into one end, forcing sap from the other (above). As it coated the child's burns, her crying suddenly stopped. Ndro nalahy later scraped the skin off a calabash, mixed it with water, and dabbed the liq uid on her flesh. Given daily A treatments of NA OUANSAH . , this mixture, Natacha was completely healed a month later (inset)-a triumph for her, and for the curative powers of nature. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, APRIL 2000 I'