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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.  

  • DISASTER UPDATE: Ebola Outbreak

    by Katie Carroll | Jul 03, 2014
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    Outside the ELWA Hospital Isolation Unit.

     

    The deadly Ebola virus continues to spiral out of control in West Africa.  This is now the most widespread and deadly Ebola epidemic ever.  According to the World Health Organization, there are nearly 760 suspected cases and over 460 deaths.  The virus is 90% fatal, and there is no vaccine or cure.

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    The Liberian Ministry of Health (MoH) has requested MTI's help, and our response is fully in motion. Our Liberian staff is working to contain the deadly virus in the most effective way possible: through education. We are mobilizing local community health volunteers to educate the community on how the virus is transmitted.

    Although the terrifying and deadly, Ebola is surprisingly hard to contract unless a person comes in direct contact with blood, vomit or other bodily fluids. Plus, a person is NOT contagious until they are acutely ill or have died. However, misunderstanding and rumors in West Africa abound. Some believe the Ministry of Health has made up the virus. Others think that white people (those in protective gear) are causing the virus. Many refuse to identify contacts because they are afraid they will become infected if placed in isolation.

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    One of our Community Health Volunteers with education materials on how Ebola is transmitted.

     

    Additionally, health facilities are short on workers. Health care providers are afraid to go to work and become infected. As a result, people are dying from non-Ebola-related deaths. MTI is training nearly 100 health workers in the basics of Ebola and how to protect themselves from infection.

    MTI is also providing volunteers to support ELWA Hospital, our partner in Monrovia. ELWA is one of three designated isolation units for Ebola in the area. Publically praised by the Ministry of Health, it is a model example of infection control, with zero health workers infected. At one of the other isolation units run by the MoH, nine health workers have already died. With our volunteers relieving staff in hospital assignments, local care providers can go to the front lines to assist with Ebola patients.

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    After exposure in the isolation unit, clothing & boots are disinfected with chlorine.

     

    We are mobilizing volunteers now, with the first U.S. volunteer heading out July 6th. All staff and volunteers near an Ebola-infected area will wear protective suits.

    We need YOUR HELP to spread the word on how this horrifying virus is transmitted and prevent further infections! Please donate today.

  • Field Photos: Lactation Training & Consultation in Haiti

    by Katie Carroll | Jul 02, 2014
    Check out some recent photos from a lactation training and consultation to mothers living near Crochu in Haiti.  Thanks to you, these mothers are receiving a clinic on breastfeeding, which is critical to preventing diseases such as Cholera.  Breastfeeding also improves overall health - it's nature's best vaccine!  Thank you for your support of our Haiti programs, which are empowering the Haitian community to provide healthcare for themselves and future generations.  You are changing lives! 

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    A male Traditional Birth Attendant demonstrates with a doll


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    Mothers outside the clinic.

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    A group of mothers watching and sharing a few laughs during training.

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    Learning proper breastfeeding techniques.
  • Field Highlight: Ana in Guatemala

    by Katie Carroll | Jul 01, 2014

    Meet Ana, one of our Mother Counselors in Guatemala!

    Ana (29) lives in the community of Chajbul, an hour and fifteen minutes from Cobán, with her husband Luis (32) and their three children Joselyn Rosangela (10), Alis Mayerli (3), and Ligia Fabiana (16 months).

    Prior to working with MTI, Ana reports that her children became sick frequently from pneumonia and diarrhea and she did not know how to adequately treat these or where to take them for help.

    She said that within her area, many families did not have latrines and defecated in the area around their home. Children were frequently sick from drinking contaminated water, and families did not have health information to respond adequately to their children’s illnesses, resulting in a number of deaths of young children within the community.

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    Ana started volunteering as a MTI Mother Counselor in 2010, and said that since then she has participated in MTI trainings and repeated these trainings with the families in her care. Through MTI she has been the beneficiary of both a fuel-efficient, ventilated stove and a latrine. She said her children no longer suffer from the same frequency of respiratory infections because they no longer have smoke in their home. The stove has reduced their family expenses both by eliminating the need to purchase medications, and because it uses less wood than a traditional open fire.

    Through MTI trainings sessions given by Community Health Workers and the network of Mother Counselors, Ana said families have been educated on the prevention of pneumonia and diarrhea, as well as child nutrition, and personal care during pregnancy and after birth. Ana noted the community is much healthier as a result.

    She said families in her community now have their own latrines through MTI, which has reduced the incidence of diarrhea. MTI and Mother Counselor volunteers perform home visits to ensure that the latrines are well cared for and do not contaminate the area. Families now value important hygiene practices in their homes and contribute to caring for the environment by using their latrines.

    Ana also noted that MTI trains villages leadership committees, which has strengthened the community so that it can grow and develop since the leadership committees support the village in learning the health topics MTI disseminates.

    Thank you for your continued support of our Community Health programs!  As Ana has attested, you are changing the health and lives of families and children all around the world.  Thank you for your generosity!

    Story by Brittn Grey
  • Irene: a South Sudanese Refugee Mother

    by Katie Carroll | Jun 30, 2014

    According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, nearly 650,000 South Sudanese people have become refugees as a result of the ongoing conflict. Thanks to your generosity, MTI is working in clinics in Uganda to help serve these refugees, a majority of which are women and children.  Because of you, we are able to provide desperately-needed medical care to people who have lost almost everything.

    Meet Irene, a refugee and the mother of an infant. She was nine months pregnant when she fled her home in Boro after fighting broke out, leaving behind all of her possessions, friends and family. Her husband is a soldier still in South Sudan, fighting. Her parents are dead. She has no way to provide for herself.

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    Irene and her infant Narene, whose name means "running away during war."

     

    Shortly after she arrived to the transit center in January, she went into labor.  Thanks to you, MTI has a clinic in Adjumani, so she was able to have her child safely. She is back at the clinic on this day for her baby's immunizations. Her daughter is named Narene, which means "running away during war." When asked what challenges she struggles with, Irene says that she misses her husband, that there are no trees for her shelter, and - although she's living in the camp with a plot - she doesn't have tools to create a garden. Gardening at the camps is something everyone does as a way of survival.

    When asked if she wants to return back to her home in South Sudan, she said she would like to stay in the camp because it's safer for her and her child.

    When asked if her friends and family are here with her, Irene says simply, "when you're fleeing, you focus on saving yourself." She's reunited with many people, but many she has not seen since she left.

    Your support has touched the lives of Irene and Narene.  Thank you for providing them with critical care.
  • DISASTER ALERT: MTI responding to 2nd wave of Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

    by Katie Carroll | Jun 25, 2014
    Medical Teams International is responding to a second wave of the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa. We are mobilizing three of our in-country staff to help control the spread. MTI is coordinating with the Ministry of Health and our partner ELWA hospital working in Monrovia to help identify service needs and gaps. Some of our key initiatives to help control the deadly virus involve:
    • Sensitization of the community on how the virus spreads
    • Assessing medicines and medical supply needs
    • Assessing volunteer needs and response
    Earlier this spring, MTI was involved in responding to a region-wide outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, providing education, supplies, communication and transportation. As recently as May, the virus seemed largely under control.  Please join us in praying for those impacted and praying that the virus will be contained.

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    Thank you for your continued support of our disaster response programs.  Your donations allow us to be ready to respond when a disaster occurs.  Thank you!

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