Tag: diarrhea

Hot Weather Brings Disease

Posted by Afia Afroze on 10.29.12

It’s summer here now and the whole country is very hot. Every day it’s over 100 degrees with high humidity. There are several diseases that tend to affect children more this time of year. On one side of my village people are using water from the canal for their household needs, and the children have been getting water-borne diseases. I am seeing more cases of conjunctivitis, diarrhea, pneumonia, coughs and colds, and stomach problems too. I advise all the mothers – especially the ones with sick babies – to keep their children clean and make sure they drink lots of liquids like safe drinking water, lemonade and green coconut water.


This month I made 24 household visits. I counseled two new mothers about how to care for their newborns. I told them they should be feeding their babies nothing but breast milk for the first 6 months. I also facilitated two courtyard sessions where we brought people together to talk about community health problems and solutions. I was very happy that 27 women and 10 men attended. We talked about how seasonal diseases are increasing as the weather gets hotter. We decided to have an art and writing contest for the children. The goal will be to warn people about the dangers in this hot weather and teach people how to be prepared.


Seven-month-old Tamanna was one of the children I helped this month. Her mother was visiting family in a nearby village and didn’t know what to do when her baby started coughing and breathing rapidly. Tamanna’s grandfather knew about me, and suggested she come see me.  The mother brought Tamanna to my house. I told her Tamanna had a respiratory infection. It was not severe, but it could have turned into pneumonia if it was left untreated. I gave the mother some medicine and advice about how to care for her little girl. They came back to see me a week later and I was very happy to see Tamanna feeling better.

A Family Takes My Advice

Posted by Salif Diarra on 10.24.12

There is still a lot of trouble with the political situation here, but fortunately Satiguila village is not affected very much, and I continue to do my work. I often give talks for the mothers here in the village. The topics vary, depending on the problems people are having at the time. Lately, there has been an increase in malnutrition among our children, so last month I did several sessions offering nutrition advice. I talked about the importance of a balanced diet, drinking plenty of clean water and household hygiene. Daouda is one of the children who was malnourished. He is the 18-month-old son of Adama and Chata. His problems started when he got diarrhea and it continued for several days. He wasn’t eating or drinking enough, so he became very weak. His parents brought him to me and I told them they must take him immediately to the health clinic. They treated him and he got better. When Daouda returned home, I checked on him frequently, and counseled the parents about better food and cleanliness. They heeded my advice and made improvements in their diet and hygiene. I was very satisfied with Daouda’s progress. After a few weeks he was much healthier. It made me very happy to see him laughing and playing again with the other children.


World Food Day: More than Just Food

Posted by News on 10.14.12

Tuesday is World Food Day, a day when the global community comes together around the common goal of ending hunger. But doing so will take more than just food; it will also take people. People like Salif.

Salif is a health worker in Mali, where it’s heartbreakingly common for young children to experience malnutrition, and then—because of their weakened condition — disease. Malnutrition puts both their ability to learn properly and their very lives at risk. When there’s a bad harvest or diseases are spreading among children — like this year — Salif has to be ready. This month alone, he found five cases of malnutrition, including one that was severe.

Sekou recently turned 1 year old and a family trip to another village should have been a happy occasion. Instead, the little boy developed diarrhea, which led to dehydration and severe malnutrition. By the time his parents reached Salif, Sekou’s life was in danger. His eyes were sunken and he was very thin.

Luckily, Salif knew from his training with Save the Children to take baby Sekou to the health center immediately — a critical decision that likely saved the boy’s life. While Sekou is not back to his playful self yet, he is home again, where Salif visits often to help him achieve a full recovery. He counsels Sekou’s mother on breastfeeding and other nutrition practices that can make all the difference.

Salif is one of the many frontline health workers in the developing world who are working to treat childhood infections and end malnutrition in their own communities — even when doctors and hospitals are not within easy reach. This World Food Day, tell Congress we need more frontline health workers like Salif so that we can save more babies like Sekou!

A Tough Time of Year for Children

Posted by Salif Diarra on 3.20.12

We are in the cool season in Mali now. It’s a difficult time for children. A lot of them get sick this time of year. I treated three children for pneumonia last month. Luckily none of the cases were severe, so I was able to provide care here in the village and the parents did not have to take their children to the hospital. I also saw two cases of diarrhea. And three babies were born – two boys and a girl. I visited the homes of all three families to check on the health of the mothers and babies and gave advice about newborn care, breastfeeding and post-natal care for the mothers.  It’s very satisfying to me to see all the mothers and babies are doing well.

Last week, mother named Chita brought her 10-month-old son Fidele to see me. He had a bad cough and he was trembling all over. His parents had not been dressing him warmly enough, and I suspect he also had not been getting proper nutrition. I gave the mother paracetamol – a medicine to reduce pain and fever. I told her she should dress her baby in warm cloths and keep him dry. I also talked with her about ways to ensure Fidele gets better nutrition. I visited the family at home two days later and was happy to see Fidele was back on feet, playing and completely back to normal.

We’re All in the Same Boat When it Comes to Parenting

Posted by Salif Diarra on 3.06.12

This month, it was my turn to be a concerned parent. My son, Adama, is only 3 years old. And at 10 p.m. one night, he started vomiting profusely. Then he had diarrhea. This went on and on until 5 a.m. Adama always insists on sleeping in my bed, so I cared for him as best I could during those frightening hours. My wife and I couldn’t bring him to the local health center immediately, because it isn’t open at night.

The next morning, I went to the village’s communal bank, as I knew I didn’t have enough savings to pay for his treatment. Every month, every head of a family has to put 20 cents per child into the kitty. When in need, a father can take money from the kitty, but he must return the amount he took within the month so that, in case of another emergency, another child can be treated.

And indeed, the treatment was costly – 15 dollars! Adama was tested for malaria and within ten minutes was diagnosed as having a chronic case. The doctor gave him antimalarial drugs, oral rehydration salts and zinc. But it was worth every penny – within 48 hours he was back on his feet, and my energetic, playful son is now completely back to normal.


Too Much Medicine

Posted by Afia Afroze on 2.28.12

Yasin is 7 months old. Until a month ago he was healthy, but when his mother started adding food to his diet, in addition to breast milk, Yasin got diarrhea. His mother, Mahfuza, didn’t know what to do so she went to the local pharmacy. They prescribed three types of medicine. I ran into Mahfuza when she was on her way back from the pharmacy.  I could see right away that Yasin was not well so I asked a few questions. I explained to Mahfuza that her son was in the early stages of diarrhea. I said he did not need all that medicine and suggested she only needed to give him oral rehydration salts (ORS). Mahfuza told me: “I have faith in you Afia, so I will start with only the ORS.” The next day, I went to visit Yasin, and was pleased to see him feeling better and playing happily.


Good Sanitation Equals Good Health

Posted by Chisomo Boxer on 2.24.12

Part of my job is to ensure that the villages are clean and so I regularly do inspections. In the course of this exercise, I noticed that people do not really take the issue of sanitation seriously. Jonasi village is very hilly and there is no potable water so people drink from the rivers. During rainy season, all the rubbish goes into the same rivers.

I wanted to find a way to encourage better sanitation and reduce diarrhea cases in my area. People needed to do a better job with refuse disposal and other things. So I got the idea to introduce a competition to motivate people to be more clean. This turned out to be a very good idea. Since we started the contest, the villages have become transformed. The houses look better and every household has a clean toilet, refuse pit and they drink safe water. Right now, the only “prize” we give to the contest winners is public recognition, but I would like to supply the winners with hoes, pails and other sanitation tools.

These days I see very few cases of diarrhea at the village clinic. For instance, last month only 12 children suffered from diarrhea. The numbers used to be huge.

This has helped a lot as I now have more time to do other things like visiting pregnant women and newborn babies in their homes. At the village clinic I see other cases like fever/malaria, pneumonia and other conditions.


2011: Millions more healthy and happy children!

Posted by News on 12.13.11

You are a real lifesaver. Together, we have helped frontline health workers reach more children every day and provide the care children need to get well and stay healthy.   As we move toward 2012, we wanted to share with you some of the successes that took place on the ground this year.  With your support, we can continue to provide this lifesaving care to the children who need it most.

In May, local health worker Afia Afroze of Bangladesh blogged about how her training and commitment made all the difference for two families in her community.

“I went to all of my beneficiaries’ houses to invite them to the growth monitoring and promotion session. In that session, I found two babies were suffering from pneumonia. I counseled the mothers to take extra good care of their babies, keep them warm, clean and feed them nutritious food. I gave them cotrim syrup [an antibiotic] and advised them to continue the syrup for five days. I told them, if they notice any danger signs, they should let me know right away. Although it was a weekend, I did not want to take a chance that the mothers would not come to me if they needed me, so I went back to the houses for follow up visits. Fortunately, both children were doing better. I hope soon they will be completely well.

In November, a short update from frontline health worker Salif Diarra of Mali showed how the trust families put in health workers who are also their neighbors can really pay off.

“Bawassa is a pretty, 2-year-old girl from my village. She started having diarrhea at night time and her mother brought her to see me the next morning. It was good that her parents knew to take immediate action when their daughter was sick. Too often, parents wait to seek care, and their children get worse. When they come to me early, I can help prevent the child from suffering too much, and sometimes I even prevent them from dying. Bawassa did not look good when she came to me. Her eyes were sunken from dehydration. I gave her oral rehydration solution and 10 zinc tablets. By the evening, her diarrhea had stopped, and within a few days she was totally cured.”

Frontline health workers are also trained to refer mothers and children to a clinic or hospital when that is the best choice.  In communities like health worker Madalitso Masa’s village in Malawi, that calls for changing attitudes about where it’s best and safest to give birth.  In October, Madalitso told us how counseling mother-to-be Fiona and her family had a real impact.

“During the last visit, we talked about preparing for the birth. I told her that she needed to have her bags packed and if possible she should go to the district hospital to wait for her delivery at least three weeks before her due date.

In the afternoon on August 12th, she went into labor while she was still at home and everybody panicked. They came to my house to ask for help. I advised them to take her to the local shelter that we use as a clinic while I called the district hospital for an ambulance. Luckily, after a few hours, the ambulance arrived to pick her up. Her baby Emma was born in the early hours of August 13th at Dowa District Hospital.”

That’s just a sampling of the inspiring work health workers Afia, Salif, and Madalitso and thousands like them made possible in 2011. 

The new year is sure to bring many more successes.  We hope you will visit us regularly to hear about the impact that health workers, and YOU, are having on the lives of mothers and children around the globe.

Have a joyous holiday season.


Mother Tells Why She Appreciates Health Workers

Posted by Felix Aguilar Ramírez on 9.06.11

Here’s a video of Mrs. Magdalena explaining what happened when her baby daughter Engracia had diarrhea for 3 days. She had to travel to the main town, so she went to the health post were she received medicine and advice on how to how to take good care of her daughter, how to feed her, what food to feed her, and advice about breastfeeding. “The health workers have been a great help and very patient with us, the mothers in the communities,” she says. “They explain how to keep our children healthy, how to feed them, and even how we as mothers have to eat good food in order to have good milk to breastfeed our babies.”

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