Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Stories of hope, health and lives transformed.

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  • Ebola: Even among death, "there can be hope"

    by Katie Carroll | May 13, 2015

    Little Anthony in Polay Town, Liberia.

    Failing to hide Ebola's deadly heartbreak

    The Sackors were just an average family of five in Polay Town, Liberia. Dioxin and his wife were thrilled to have three healthy, happy children.

    Suddenly, Ebola struck West Africa with vicious force.

    Even though cases were increasing across Liberia, they felt reasonably safe- while Ebola was creeping in surrounding regions, their town had been completely case-free.

    Then, in October, 5-year-old Ramsey began showing symptoms of the deadly disease.

    Although the town still had no reported cases, his grandmother feared the worst. At first – as was typical in the community – his parents refused to divulge the nature of his condition and didn't seek treatment.

    Tragically, his grandmother was right: Ramsey was the first reported case of the disease in his town. 

    With much persistence, Negba – an MTI community health volunteer that your gift trained – convinced the family to take the boy to a hospital.

    But it was too late for Ramsey. He died.

    Life-saving persistence of one health worker

    Even after Ramsey had succumbed to the disease, his family did not explain what actually happened to him. They told no one that their house could still be infected by the disease.

    A health worker provides care to patients possibly exposed to Ebola.

    Knowing others in the community were being put in harm’s way by the family’s silence, including the family members themselves, Negba intensified his educational campaign to convince the Sackor family to be quarantined for 21 days.

    It was during the quarantine that three of Ramsey's family members — father Dioxin, his wife and their 10-year-old daughter Joanna — began showing signs of Ebola.

    Immediately, an MTI ambulance evacuated the family, including the family’s 13-month-old baby named Anthony.

    Under treatment, Dioxin and his wife survived Ebola. However, again Ebola's tragedy struck, killing their little girl. Now, these parents had lost two of their three beloved children. Now, their smallest and most vulnerable – thirteen-month old Anthony – was in the hospital with them.

    Treatment continued, and they feared for their baby's life. So young, he was especially vulnerable to infection.

    Thankfully, thirteen-month-old Anthony did not die. Miraculously, he was the only family member not to have been infected.

    Empowering victims to become advocates

    The Sackor family, including little baby Anthony, survived Ebola thanks to your donation. Since then, they have taken the lead in educating the rest of their community about Ebola prevention.

    Having already lost so much, Anthony’s mother called her baby’s survival “miraculous.” She recognizes that education and the clinic's persistence made the difference between life and death. While she lost two children to the ravages of Ebola, Anthony’s survival is a blessing, and his life is a sign that there can be hope even among death.

    “I am happy to take Anthony in my arms again,” she said. “Thank God for MTI activities in Polay Town, [to] all those who help us to live again. We listened to Negba to still be alive.”

    Since he returned from the Ebola Treatment Unit, Dioxin enforces “infection prevention control” measures in Polay Town, using what he learned from MTI volunteers. He encourages others to wash their hands regularly, and he asks people to seek medical attention early if they're showing signs of Ebola.

    Each morning, he makes Clorox water for everyone in the community, so they can safely wash their hands when they come back from the farm or other places.


    Distributing disaster-controlling medical supplies during the outbreak.

    You made the difference

    Because of your donation, this family didn't lose everything to Ebola- baby Anthony and his parents are alive. 

    Your gifts provided community education programs, which is seen by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Liberian Ministry of Health as the most effective way to fight Ebola.

    Your gifts saved the lives of baby Anthony and his parents in LiberiaWhen they did get sick, the family quarantined themselves, saving countless many more lives in their community – and perhaps West Africa. You made this possible. 

    Want to do more? Learn more about our Ebola response and what you can do to help. Pray, donate or volunteer with MTI. Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter about the Sackor family and how health treatment and education saved their lives, and advocate for those still battling this deadly tragedy.

  • NEPAL SNAPSHOT: After Quake, Orphans Return Outside.

    by Tyler Graf | May 13, 2015

    Nepal is a country on edge.

    For the second time in less than three weeks, people have taken to the streets to sleep. Buildings have been destroyed. People have died.

    Tuesday’s 7.4-magnitude quake dashed hopes that the aftershocks were over and that Nepal could rebuild in earnest. People remain nervous about where and how to live – whether they should gamble on returning inside, or brave the elements outside.

    Many of Nepal’s young people, however, are trying to make the best out of a tense situation.

    At the ROKPA Children’s Home, an orphanage in Kathmandu, the kids have shown amazing resolve in the face of a difficult situation. The orphanage is run by a nonprofit organization that also runs the guesthouse that serves as Medical Teams International’s in-country base.

    ROKPA post-quake orphans Kathmandu
    The orphans of ROKPA Chidren's Home camp outside following Tuesday's quake in Nepal.

    After Tuesday’s quake, the children were rushed from next door to ROKPA Guesthouse’s backyard, where tents and cooking stations were quickly arranged. This was a repeat of what happened after the April 25 earthquake, when the kids were forced to do the same thing.

    MTI was privileged to meet some of these kids, whose smiles masked the anxiety they expressed. When asked how she felt when the earthquake struck, 14-year-old Sabida said, “We thought we’d die.”

    Post-Kathmandu quake ROKPA2 Nepal orphans
    Sabida, right, and her friends said the second earthquake scared them almost as much as the first.

    They feel safer outside, even if life there is an inconvenience. The kids try to find fun things to do. They mingle a little with the guests of the hotel, including members of MTI’s team, sing songs and generally horse around.

    Like thousands in Nepal, it will be their second time in a short period living outside because of unease. Safety, security and good health are all uncertainties. Despite all of that, they maintain a positive attitude, even when the answer to the question of “When do you think you’ll return to the home?” is “I don’t know.”

    For the past two weeks, MTI has been conducting health assessments throughout the rural areas of Nepal. We plan on continuing our work in the long term and having a lasting presence in the country. Your donations matter greatly in keeping the people healthy and happy.

  • UPDATE NEPAL: Powerful 7.4 Quake Stirs Anxiety

    by Tyler Graf | May 12, 2015

    Nepal earthquake Kathmandu update
    Another strong earthquake strikes Nepal.

    A strong, 7.4-magnitude earthquake  in Kathmandu Tuesday afternoon sent buildings swaying, an unwelcome reminder that the earthquake threat is not over in Nepal.

    According to early reports, at least 32 people died as a result of the quake. It came just three weeks after a 7.9-magnitude temblor hit the country, killing more than 8,000 people.

    According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake’s epicenter was roughly 50 miles east of the capital in Kathmandu, near the China border. In Kathmandu, the quake sent buildings swaying and rubble flying from high atop structures. People fled buildings and rushed the streets as the minute-long earthquake rumbled. Several were heard praying and wondering aloud about loved ones.

    Medical Teams International has had a team on the ground for more than two weeks. They are all accounted for and safe. MTI will continue its mission of assessing rural health needs and treating earthquake-related injuries and illnesses.

    On Wednesday, MTI will send two urgent assessment teams to affected areas. These will be remote and mountainous areas that were, even before the latest quake, deemed worthy of further assessments. Follow MTI's blog, website and Twitter account (@medteams) for updates.

    You can also donate to MTI's relief efforts in Nepal.
  • Ebola Free Day: Official Celebration in Liberia!

    by Katie Carroll | May 11, 2015


    Today Liberians celebrated "Ebola Free Day!"  Our field office captured celebratory photos from the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia.  On May 9, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Liberia free of the deadly Ebola virus.  This date marked 42 days with Liberia not reporting any cases since the last burial on March 28.

    Liberia was the first country to report an Ebola case, and reported the highest number of deaths in the largest, longest and most complex outbreak since Ebola first emerged in 1976.  According to the WHO, there were more than 3,000 confirmed Ebola cases in Liberia, and 7,400 suspected or probable cases, with more than 4,700 deaths estimated to have occurred since the outbreak was declared in March 2014. A total of 378 healthcare workers became infected; while at least 192 died of the virus.

    Your gifts to our Ebola response program played a critical role in today's success. Thank you!

    The smiles on the faces of people in Monrovia today on this EBOLA FREE DAY reflects their gratitude. The people of Liberia expressed their thankfulness to you - friends around the world who helped them in their time of need - in different ways: through traditional music, street parades, gospel songs and the President’s big thank you speech.






    UPDATE 7/2/15: New cases of Ebola are reported in Liberia. Learn more.
  • Earthquake Photos: In search of those in need.

    by Katie Carroll | May 06, 2015

    Field photos from our volunteer nurse Sharon Tissell as her and the team head to remote regions of Nepal to help those in need of medical care.  Thank you for your support of our earthquake response program.

    near-chaku-nepal-disaster-response Driving through the destruction near Chaku.

    children-nepal-earthquake-response With so much of their belongings destroyed, little boys play with homemade "cars."

    earthquake-victims The team encounters this mother & child as they head to remote regions of Nepal.

    Suspension-Bridge-nepal The many suspension bridges across the Bhote Kosi river are still being used post earthquake. They are the only means across this ravine which is up to 160 meters deep.

    nepal-quake-anika-higyhwaDevastating landslides demolish this whole town along the Anika highway.