Medical Teams International | Official Blog

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Lifesaving Medicines Success Story: Irene

by Katie Carroll | Apr 22, 2014

Today we share with you a story of how your gifts to our lifesaving medical supplies program are changing lives for children around the world. Thank you for your generosity and compassion!

17 Year Old Irene has Nodding Syndrome


 Irene is a 17 year old with Epilepsy and Nodding Syndrome. When she has medicines, her symptoms are controlled; she can sit, walk, help with chores around the house, and go to school. Like most children with Nodding Syndrome, when she does not have her medication, Irene becomes a danger to herself. The disease starts to destroy her physically and mentally, and puts her at risk of falling into fires, among other things.

With one brother and one sister, she’s the oldest child in her family, and the only one to have Nodding Syndrome.  Irene's mother cares for her. Irene began having symptoms 12 years ago, when she was 5. She had to leave school at 13 because of her symptoms. 

Irene's Mother


The community has come together to help each other through these hard times. If Irene has a seizure while her mother's away, other neighbors who are familiar with her illness step in to help. The challenge is getting medicine consistently. If there’s a shortage of medication at the clinic near their home, they travel 30 kilometers (18 miles) to the nearest town to a clinic where they can get the medication they need for free. 

Irene and her mother with MTI Staff

There are places closer that sell the medicines at an expensive price, but Irene's family can’t afford it…so they trek the 30 km to Gulu instead. However, making the long trip can be challenging since that cuts into time Irene's mother needs to spend working in the fields for food.

On this day, Irene and her mother traveled less than 1 km to a clinic to receive the necessary medications to treat Irene's Nodding Syndrome from MTI staff and volunteers - medications that YOU sent!  We are so grateful for your donations to our medical supplies distribution program.  Your support is transforming the lives of Irene and children like her.  Thank you!

Story by Megan Steele
Photos by Trina Chase