Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Stories of hope, health and lives transformed.

Sign up to receive the blog directly to your email inbox

  • Nepal Quake: An injured elderly woman receives care

    by Katie Carroll | May 15, 2015

    Your gifts to help victims of the Nepal earthquake are making a difference. You helped provide medical care to an 82-year old woman who was injured in her rural home during the earthquake.

    Yadu lives in Budathum, a geographically isolated village in one of the areas most affected by the quake. She has lived here for most of her life with her family, who rely upon farming to feed themselves and make a small income. When the earthquake began, Yadu was near her rural home, and although terrified, she immediately sought protection. Yadu’s village was destroyed, and some of her neighbors were less fortunate than she. There were at least seven deaths. Three of those deaths were fishermen who ran from the water when the earthquake began. As they were getting out of the water they were buried under a massive landslide, and one of Yadu’s neighbors said, “You could hear them moaning from underneath the mud, ‘Help us, help us.’”


    A building near Yadu collapsed, and a falling piece of rubble hit and broke her foot. She is grateful that she suffered no further injuries. As the roads were impassable due to landslides, Yadu was carried by her son to the closest health clinic, where she was cared for by MTI medical volunteers, who had set up a triage unit at the clinic. Yadu is now being cared for by her family in Budathum. Her injury is healing, but she may never recover completely from the loss of friends and her home.

    Thank you for your generosity and compassion, which is helping to care for the most vulnerable during their time of need.

  • Ebola Success: Your gifts kept nurses from becoming patients.

    by Katie Carroll | May 13, 2015


    This year, International Nurses Day held extra meaning for the nurses of Liberia. The country, which was just recently ravaged by the Ebola virus, held its official celebration of "Ebola Free Day" just the day before.


    Since the outbreak started in March 2014, a total of 378 healthcare workers became infected, killing at least 192. However, it is with hearts full of thanksgiving that more than 350 nurses celebrated yesterday under theme: "When a Nurse or Midwife Becomes the Patient."

    With a healthcare system that was not equipped to fight the virus, nurses watched on helplessly as "this lethal viral infection [took a] toll on the health system; took the lives of our friends, families and mentors."

    The deaths weighed heavily on the nurses’ hearts. As the outbreak ravaged the country, they had no appropriate supplies or equipment. They could only watch as sick children and pregnant women died before their eyes.

    Most nurses are not even on payroll, and spent years studying purely because they found joy in caring for people. Without preventative equipment, they were unable to care for anyone. As sick people died, the nurses felt they had betrayed those they had sworn oaths to save.

    Thanks to your donations, the nurses received personal protective equipment and other supplies to help those in need. The nurses share, “if God had not been on our side for international partners...during the crisis, maybe a living nurse won’t have been in Liberia today!”

    Your gifts helped keep nurses safe from infection - and helped them to save lives. Thank you.

  • 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.