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CDC Protects Families: My favorite stories

Posted on by Terri Still-LeMelle
Terri Still-LeMelle
Terri Still-LeMelle

As we celebrate families on Mother’s Day, May 11, and the International Day of Families, May 15, I am especially proud to work in CDC’s Center for Global Health.  As one of the Center’s  health communication specialists, I have the privilege to write or edit many stories about how CDC’s programs impact the lives of families around the world.  In honor of this season, I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite accounts about brave mothers, determined families, and CDC’s global health programs.

2014 Kenya: Baby Hope’s Battle with TB
In Kenya, an 8-month-old baby girl named Hope was very ill—she was losing weight and her mother, who was also ill, didn’t know what was wrong. The baby was so ill that her neighbors began raising money to allow the mother and child to take one last visit to their home village.

The mother, determined to do everything she could, took baby Hope to the community health center, where she was diagnosed with TB. As part of a program developed by CDC and local partners, a community volunteer began visiting the family to ensure Hope was taking and tolerating all of her medications. The community volunteer also recognized that Hope’s mom had signs and symptoms of TB. After Hope’s mom was diagnosed with TB, she also started on treatment with daily support from the volunteer. Today, baby Hope has gained weight, and both she and her mother have been cured of TB and are healthy.

Ugangda 2013: Immaculate, the Mother
Immaculate gave birth to her first child like generations of Ugandan mothers have before her – in her home, eschewing modern practices and tools. Luckily, all went well.

But then, as she was pregnant with her second child, the 21-year-old Immaculate began having doubts. Members of village health teams, the basic level of care in much of the country, warned her about the dangers of delivering at home, far from basic medical facilities. The worry was amplified by radio announcements stressing more formal care for pregnant women. Read the rest of the story, as told by Erik Friedly.

Nigeria to Indiana 2006: A Family’s Struggle with Malaria

Fatai and Hanifat Adisa and their baby Mariam moved from Nigeria to the United States 10 years ago. Since then, their family had grown to five children, aged 2 to 11. They all lived in Indiana, where Mr. Adisa worked as a physical therapist. At the end of 2005 the entire family had an opportunity to visit Nigeria. To prepare her children for the trip, Mrs. Adisa consulted a pediatrician who prescribed antibiotics and drugs for pain and fever in case anyone should get sick. Mrs. Adisa also wanted to protect her children against malaria, a dangerous disease occurring in her native country. Read the rest of the story.

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