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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.  

  • Cambodia Success Story: Baby Born with Pneumonia Survives

    by Tyler Graf | Mar 06, 2015

    Chhook Mithona started life close to death. When the Cambodian girl was born, she had pneumonia, so her tiny lungs filled with fluid. The pneumonia led Chhook to develop a chronic cough, for which she had to take medicine every day.

    In babies, pneumonia can be deadly; and in developing countries, like Cambodia, the risks are heightened because the medicine is not as advanced or as available as it is in the states. Chhook’s mother, 23-year-old Voeth M., didn’t know what to do. For Chhook, each breath was a struggle, every new day a blessing. But in times of need, helping hands have a tendency to arrive. That was the case for baby Chhook, who was lifted up thanks to your support and amazing contributions.

    41.2 (Voeth Mang - Village 1)
    Voeth M. holds her daughter Chhook, who, when she was born, came down with pneumonia.

    In the small village in which Chhook and Voeth live, there is a Volunteer Health Support Group volunteer named Chhork M. She entered baby Chhook and Voeth’s lives and made an immediate impact, supporting and educating the mother on how to properly care for the young child. This work is tied to Medical Teams International’s Safe Motherhood program and, through it, Chhork receives continuing education in all areas of health. She uses that knowledge to educate the rest of the villagers on how to stay healthy and what to do when they're sick.

    This work shows what happens when your contributions are focused into action.

    Chhork is an extremely compassionate and caring woman. That was put on display when she helped care for baby Chhook and mother Voeth. She still goes to the health center often because of her baby’s chronic respiratory problems. But before she does, she always visits Chhork, who has become her community’s expert on infant and maternal health.

    30 (Chhork May, midwife-Kok Spean village 1)
    Volunteer Health Support Group volunteer Chhork M. monitors the health of people in her village, including babies like Chhook.

    As for Chhork, the volunteer, she said she is grateful to MTI — and to you, our supporters — for providing her with the continuing education and resources she needs to know the health of everyone in her village. She learned of the signs of pneumonia through the training she received from MTI. That training helped keep baby Chhook alive.

    Thanks so much for coming alongside our teams to help create sustainable medical care in Cambodia and keep babies like Chhook healthy! Donate to our Cambodian programs today.

  • Reports: Last Known Case of Ebola in Liberia

    by Tyler Graf | Mar 06, 2015

    A patient who had the last reported case of Ebola in Liberia has been discharged from a Chinese-run Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, according to multiple reports (including
    The New York Times and the BBC). The news is a heartening sign that the worst outbreak of the deadly disease in recorded history is waning under the pressure of a coordinated medical response.

    Medical Teams International (MTI) has been on the ground in Liberia from the start of the outbreak, working in several counties to mobilize and train health care workers and community health volunteers on infection prevention and control protocols to detect the disease and prevent further cases. During the fear and confusion of the early days of the outbreak, when health care workers were dying along with their patients, many of Liberia’s health clinics shut down.

    As the Ebola epidemic grew last summer, the Liberian Ministry of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and other NGOs requested MTI's expertise to help contain the deadly virus. Through your support, MTI worked to reestablish clinics, implement infection control measures, operate community care centers and support local health workers.

    Liberia_Putting on protective gear 4_Dec. 2014 (2)
    Workers with MTI try on protective gear that prevents the spread of Ebola.

    While this is a significant cause for celebration and a huge milestone in the fight against Ebola, time will tell whether Liberia is finally free of Ebola. Indeed, Liberia is still home to nearly 100 people who have yet to go 21 days without showing signs of the disease, after first coming into contact with someone who had it. Twenty-one days is the typical length of time a person is quarantined after potentially coming into contact with Ebola.

    There may also be “hidden cases” of the disease in the countryside. On top of that, Ebola remains active in two neighboring countries, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and their shared borders with Liberia are extremely porous.

    Even with the last Ebola patient being discharged in Liberia, there’s plenty of heavy lifting left in terms of fully restoring essential health services in the country. In fact, that’s one of the primary long-term goals of both the Liberia Ministry of Health and MTI. MTI will continue to work in Liberia, with a focus on implementing long-term infection prevention controls and disease surveillance and preparedness. MTI will also work with the Ministry of Health to restore essential health services throughout Liberia.

    Please visit our Ebola page to learn more about our efforts in West Africa.

  • Mobile Dental Success Story: Audra Makes Up for Missed Opportunities of Youth

    by Tyler Graf | Feb 26, 2015

    Over the course of her short lifetime, Audra estimates she's had seven cavities. But the 31-year-old isn't exactly sure. Can't be. She's no dentist, and some of those suspected cavities have been self-diagnosed.

    As she waited in Medical Teams International's Mobile Dental Clinic Feb. 25, located at the Good Neighbors Center in Tigard, Ore., Audra said she believed she had five in her mouth as she spoke. "One in the back and four in the front," she said.

    Audra blamed how she rarely, if ever, visited the dentist when she was a child. She didn't grow up with a lot of money, and her mother was averse to seeking public or private assistance. When Audra did see a dentist as a kid, her mom paid for the visit out of pocket. 

    Money has long been a problem for Audra, who spent time homeless and living at the Good Neighbors Center. Now she has her own apartment and is continuing to move in a positive direction.

    Still, she's anxious about seeing dentists, concerned that each visit will bring bad news.

    “I feel like every time I go to the dentist, it’s going to be awful," she said. 

    Audra's situation illustrates the importance of preventive oral health care among children. While oral health remains the nation's hidden health care challenge, studies suggest that the more exposure kids have to beneficial dental habits early on, the better off they are later in life.

    That's why MTI's Mobile Dental program places a premium on promoting positive childhood dental health. Mobile Dental provides thousands of kids with an easy-to-read brochure and a kid-friendly kit of basic dental supplies. MTI staff and volunteers also provide classroom instruction. This is work that can only be made possible through the generous gifts provided by our donors.

    Mobile Dental, MTI, Audra, tooth decay, Tigard, Good Neighbors Center
    Audra chats with volunteer MTI dentist Dr. Dale Canfield during a visit to a Mobile Dental Clinic on Feb. 25.

    Although Audra wishes she'd been exposed to the dentist more growing up, she's interested in making up for those lost visits. She's using available resources, such as Mobile Dental, to improve her life. Audra said she is thankful for the services provided by the Mobile Dental program and is happy she heard about them from the Good Neighbors Center.

    Your donations make a difference every day.
  • Mobile Dental Success Story: Impacted Tooth, Impacted Life

    by Tyler Graf | Feb 25, 2015

    Cheryl is a reminder that all it takes is one bad medical diagnosis to turn lives on their ear—or, in Cheryl’s case, a tooth.

    When her husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis two years ago, the family encountered massive setbacks. Faced with a degenerative condition, Cheryl’s husband was forced to quit a good job as a sanitation engineer. He took another one making mud flaps for cars and trucks, but the job doesn't pay as much and now it’s hard to make ends meet. With dad’s promising career up in smoke, the family was left without dental insurance.   

    It’s been three years since Cheryl last visited a dentist. Despite that gap in time, a reminder of that visit has remained lodged in her ever since: It was during her last trip to the dentist that a botched extraction left a shard of tooth wedged in her gums.

    That changed when she visited a Medical Teams International Mobile Dental clinic at the Good Neighbors Center in Tigard, Ore., on Feb. 25. The piece of tooth that served as a reminder of what she no longer had and how her life had forever changed was finally removed.

    MTI, Mobile Dental, success story, Cheryl, tooth extraction
    Cheryl, a Mobile Dental patient, hasn't had dental insurance since her husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was forced to quit his job.

    The work has given her a more positive outlook on life. Cheryl said she just wants a healthier mouth. She wants to be able to enjoy the little things in life. It's been difficult over these years, she said, "not being able to eat the right food" because of the discomfort.

    Mobile Dental clinics, staffed by volunteer dentists and hygienists, serve thousands of patients from Oregon and Washington every year. These are people who either cannot afford dental insurance or don't have access to quality care. Your amazing support for the program is making a profound difference in the lives of thousands of people like Cheryl.

    She and her family thank you for making their lives a little easier, especially during these tough times.
  • MTI Photos: Timbers/Thorns Representatives Get a Kick Out of Distribution Center

    by Tyler Graf | Feb 25, 2015

    Recently, representatives from the Portland Timbers and Thorns soccer clubs stopped by MTI's distribution center in Tigard, Ore. They spent some time doing all the cool stuff, like walking through the Real.Life.Exhibit and taking a tour of a Mobile Dental van.

    But then we put them to work.

    Of course, one would be forgiven for mistaking this so-called "work" for being something else entirely: fun.

    The Timbers and Thorns reps didn't miss a beat; they jumped at the opportunity to pitch in. That's because, well, the secret is out: Soul-enriching activities have a way of being rewarding in ways that linger beyond the initial experience.

    That's what keeps volunteers coming back, day-in and day-out. After all, volunteers are the little engines that keeps the distribution center chugging along. And, for at least this day, many of the volunteers came bedecked in their futbol finery.

    They had to represent the team, after all; but after the experience, they now belong to two. Many thanks to them for joining our team, too.

    Check out these photos of the Timbers/Thorns reps at our distribution center.

    MTI, distribution center, Thorns, Timbers

    MTI, distribution center, Thorns, Timbers

    MTI, distribution center, Thorns, Timbers

    MTI, distribution center, Thorns, Timbers

    MTI, distribution center, Thorns, Timbers

    Great work everyone!

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