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Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Get the latest updates from our programs in the field internationally and here in the United States.  

  • Nepal Update: A Nepalese Woman's Close Call

    by Tyler Graf | May 29, 2015

    Enter any village in Nepal, and you’ll find amazing stories of survival.

    We recently met a young woman high atop a hot, dusty Nepali mountain in the district of Dhading, waiting in a queue for water trickling from a hillside spigot. The young mother was named Suraz, and she stood patiently with her empty jug.

    Suraz, blue pants, Nepal

    Suraz, center in turquoise pants, had a close call while at a communal water pipe the day the Nepal earthquake struck.

    As she waited, she detailed the harrowing story of what happened to her and her family when the magnitude-7.9 earthquake began rumbling through the mountains.

    “The day the quake came, I was sitting by the water pipe with my two children, ages 2 and 4, waiting my turn to fill my water containers,” she said. “My 6-month-old baby was sleeping in our house. Then the earthquake hit. I held on to my children but was so afraid for my baby in the house. When the earthquake was over, I saw all the houses fallen down and destroyed in a glimpse.”   

    The Dhading District was at the epicenter of the massive quake, so Suraz felt the full force of the earth shaking underfoot. By the time the ground came to a rest, Suraz was frantic, she said.

    Her mind shifted to the worst-case scenario: Her infant.

    She raced back home, only to find it collapsed. Her baby, she thought. What happened to her baby?

    That’s when a blessing happened. Suraz met her mother-in-law walking down a dirt road, carrying her unharmed baby. The mother-in-law had saved the baby from certain death. The family is displaced but otherwise unharmed.

    Still, there’s much hard work to be performed in the village and throughout Nepal. Doing it will ensure that Suraz, her baby and the rest of her children stay healthy.

    Your donations are making a difference in the lives of women like Suraz. They will continue to do so. The massive earthquake that wreaked havoc throughout Nepal killed more than 8,600 and injured another 21,433. The extent of the damage is breathtaking. In the hardest-hit areas, like Dhading, there’s a lack of food and potable water. Health clinics were among the buildings either seriously damaged or completely leveled, further disrupting the ability to provide health care to mothers and children.

    MTI continues to assess the medical needs of these badly affected areas. Along with in-country partners, MTI plans to provide infant and maternal health care, with an emphasis on hygiene, to some of the worst-hit areas.

    For women like Suraz, who lost everything but her family, the recovery will be hard. The medical needs will be plenty. Thank you again for your generous gifts, which will aid those whose lives have been uprooted.

  • Lebanon Success Story: Life Improves for Najwa, Her Kids

    by Tyler Graf | May 27, 2015

    At first, Najwa thought the refugee settlement was a horrible place. Muddy, dirty, lacking latrines – it was a far cry from the middle class life she once knew.

    Displaced by fighting in her home country of Syria, Najwa and her family escaped to Lebanon, seeking safety at the Bekaa Valley refugee camp. Life in the camp was a nightmare in the beginning, with a sense of uncertainty hanging over even the simplest of life’s routines. Certain necessities, like food and water, rarely materialized in those early days. Najwa’s kids were so hungry that at one point they took to eating bugs.

    Syrian refugee looks into camera, April 2015

    Life for Najwa, a Syrian refugee, has improved since she and her family began living in a settlement in Lebanon.

    She and her family were among the first settled at the camp three years ago. Life there was hardest during those first few months. But as more refugees arrived, so too did more services. The scale and magnitude of the refugees’ plight came into focus, and the international community responded. Now life at the camp is tolerable, even if it remains muddy, unsanitary and uncertain.

    One thing is changing: Najwa and he kids are receiving the medical care they need to live without pain.

    Because of your gifts, Najwa and her seven children have received medical and dental care. Life at the camp is not nearly as bad as it once was, even though Najwa and her children suffer from medical conditions that require interventions. Still, life remains difficult. In her hometown of Edlib, she had a house. That's gone, turned to rubble. Now she sleeps in a small tent, surrounded by other refugees. Access to food, water and medicine remains hard to come by. 

    The whole family is in need of medical help.

    Najwa's daughter, Doaa, was in a terrible accident and now suffers from lung damage. Medical Teams International monitors her condition and has supplied her with an inhaler, which has improved her life. She can now breath without pain or discomfort. But she also has a hurt leg and has trouble walking. It was caused by a car accident. Najwa can't care for Dooa, so MTI has stepped in to help.

    Her children were in desperate need of dental care. Her second-oldest child, Abdulla had infected teeth. His teeth hurt so bad that he had trouble eating. He wisely gave up sweets because he felt pain whenever he ate them.

    Earlier this spring, MTI ran an awareness campaign educating children on the importance of brushing their teeth. A mobile dental clinic sponsored by MTI saw three of Najwa’s oldest children, including Adbulla.

    All of the kids were referred to a pediatric dentist. In America, kids are afraid to go to the dentist. In contrast, the Syrian children showed no signs of being ill at ease; they didn’t even know what a dentist was.

    Najwa is grateful for what she has received. “The services MTI is providing are really good," she said. Your donations are making a difference in the lives of Najwa, Dooa and the rest of her family.
  • Burundi: Refugees flee by thousands

    by Emily Crowe | May 27, 2015

    What to do when political crisis meets cholera outbreak?

    Political chaos in Burundi has forced more than 100,000 refugees to flee from their homes. While many refugees initially made way to Tanzania, poor conditions in Tanzania have led to a deadly outbreak of cholera.

    Five thousand Burundi refugees have now fled to Uganda -- and many more are expected.

    In partnership with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Medical Teams International's Ugandan staff are mobilizing to address the growing needs of Uganda's newest refugees. Together, we are providing health care and malnutrition treatment for those most in need.

    Uganda has spent many years dealing with refugee crises. Through your support, thousands taking refuge inside Uganda's borders have received critical medical care. With this new crisis, thanks to your gifts to our disaster relief programs we are able take action immediately.

    Please join us in praying for the thousands fleeing from violence in Burundi during this turbulent time of need.

    Thank you for your dedication to those most vulnerable-- you are truly saving lives.

    Donate now to our disaster response programs, which enable your gifts to help provide medical care for people like these refugees the minute a disaster occurs.
  • Nepal Quake: With Nickels, Students Aid Relief Efforts

    by Tyler Graf | May 22, 2015

    Tarp-covered home in Nepal damaged by earthquake

    One of thousands of buildings completely destroyed by last month's earthquake in Nepal.

    In the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake that ravaged much of Nepal, killing more than 8,000 and injuring 17,000, support for those affected has come far and wide -- even from some of our youngest citizens.

    Middle school students from Lynda Robert's class at the Ninety-One School in Hubbard, Ore., this month raised $2,521 for relief efforts in Nepal. They did so by literally raising a nickel at a time through a "Nickel for Nepal" campaign. For the record, the dollar figure is equal to 50,420 nickles, or 555 pounds of metal.

    Students learned of the hardships faced by quake-rattled Nepalis from experiences detailed by Robert's son. He serves in the Peace Corps in Nepal and was in the capital of Kathmandu when the earthquake struck.  

    The school visited the Real. Life Exhibit to hand-deliver the donation on Thursday, May 21. Through hard work and generosity, these kids showed that their hearts are with the countless Nepalis currently living in makeshift tented settlements, who lack adequate access to safe health clinics. Their hustle and drive is greatly appreciated.

    To learn more about Medical Teams International's work in the aftermath of the disaster, visit our Nepal page.  

  • South Sudanese Refugee: Rebecca's Story

    by Katie Carroll | May 21, 2015

    The pain on Rebecca’s face is clear as she tells us her story. “My husband and I were very happy,” begins Rebecca. “Our family was happy.”

    This was before they became refugees, she explains. Before her husband was killed.

    Rebecca is a South Sudanese refugee. Her husband, a soldier, recently died in the conflict. As civilians in her town were being murdered, Rebecca and her terrified children fled from their home to a refugee camp in Uganda.

    The refugee camp is miserable. The rain is relentless and floods her family’s shelter, forcing them to live in the mud. There is little food, and her children are often sick.

    Even if there was more food, Rebecca says her children are often too heartbroken to eat.

    She would love to return home. But she has no home to return to, no income, and no possessions.  She is overwhelmed with the burden of caring for her family. She mourns her husband, and all those who have died in a conflict she says she doesn't even understand.  

    Through tears she says, “My children did not have any disease before we came here, but now we are all sick. And it pains me every day because I don’t know what to do.” 


    Fearing her family were on the brink of death, she sought help at the MTI clinic. There, she received medicines she desperately needed - thanks to your generosity. Your donations shipped critical medicines to help Rebecca and her children when they desperately needed it. 

    Rebecca says, “Without the medicine, we would not be talking as we are now. And I think about this: that the medicine is coming from people I did not know. This is a miracle that comes from God. And it shows that God is real, and that He is here to help me. And so now, I no longer feel that I am alone.”


    You are truly demonstrating the love of Christ to those suffering around the world in their hour of need. Your gift of medicines and medical supplies is going to help those who need it most – incredible people just like Rebecca and her children. Thank you!

    You can continue to send life-saving medicines and supplies. Donate.

    It's World Refugee Day on June 20th, so we're taking this week to focus special attention and prayers on the millions of refugees across the world.

    Want to be a part of the movement? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, sign up to receive emails, and check out our refugee page to learn more.

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