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| Jan 11, 2016
Seventeen-year-old Siliana can still hear the coughs. When her brother returned home to Haiti from the Dominican Republic, he brought with him a deadly companion: tuberculosis. Soon, another brother started coughing, too. She remembers the frailty and sweat that invaded their bodies. Her mother dropped everything to care for her two sons. Before long, Siliana heard her mother coughing. Was it the same illness—and how would this suffering end?
Siliana’s mother became weaker and weaker. It became so severe that her family admitted her to a local health center. They were desperate, but it was too late. She died soon after returning home. That’s when Siliana heard more coughing. This time, though, the coughs were her own. Siliana was terrified…what if she had the same illness?
With a diagnosis, Siliana can finally receive the medicine and treatment she needs. Thanks to you, she can finally battle this illness that took her mother and brothers.
Word of Siliana’s illness spread quickly within her small Haitian community. Judith, a neighbor, heard about the young girl’s condition. Luckily, Judith is more than just a neighbor: Judith is a trained Community Health Agent for Medical Teams International through our partner, the Haiti Foundation of Hope. She rushed to Siliana’s house on a mission: to prevent the disease from spreading and to investigate the death of the family’s mother.
When Judith arrived, Siliana’s father revealed just how far his daughter’s illness had progressed. Her coughs shook her entire body, and she struggled to breathe smoothly. Judith confirmed that tuberculosis killed Siliana’s mother and suspected that Siliana was suffering from the same, life-threatening disease. She advised the family to take their daughter to Gros Mornes, a hospital where she could receive screening and treatment.
The next week, Judith visited Siliana’s house again. She learned that Siliana visited the hospital for a screening but did not have the money to go back for diagnosis and treatment. Judith saw the fear and pain in Siliana’s eyes. She reported the family’s situation to her program manager. They agreed—they had to step-up efforts to help.
They made a decision: Provide Siliana with enough money so she could afford transportation to the hospital, which was too far for Siliana to travel by foot. That generous offer allowed Siliana to go back to the hospital, and it may have saved her life.
At the hospital, Siliana learned bad news. She had caught the disease that took the life of her beloved mother: tuberculosis. But—although she is afraid—from bad news came life-saving knowledge.
With a diagnosis, she can finally receive the treatment and medicine she needs. Judith can now use her training to give Siliana specialized care, and her family learned how to stop the disease from spreading. Finally, she can battle this illness that took her beloved mother and brothers.
However, the end of Siliana’s story remains unwritten. She is still living with tuberculosis, and is still contagious.
But, now, there is a key difference.
The difference is that now Siliana has the tools she needs to get healthier, and her family is able to protect themselves from catching or spreading the disease to others. Judith can give Siliana the care she desperately needs, and is empowered to help her community stay healthy. Donors like you provided the resources to care for Siliana. Without your support, Siliana might never have received any treatment at all.
Join the team to help vulnerable people like Siliana all around the world. Pray for hope and healing. Share Siliana’s story on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Consider donating to provide medical supplies and care. On behalf of Siliana and her family, thank you for your beautiful compassion and love.