Health

Friday night in the testing hut

Friday night in the testing hut | World Vision Blog

Asumani, 13, and a health worker in Uganda. (Photo: 2014 Jon Warren/World Vision)

On Friday, Asumani came down with malaria. Our writer Kari Costanza is in Uganda right now and was visiting the health center when Asumani came in. She witnessed World Vision's rapid testing system for malaria at work … and how it saved Asumani's life. See what just happened!

Walking with steps of faith

What is a father willing to do for his child’s health?

This is a question that Juan de Dios Castro answers immediately: “To give my life, if possible,” says this father while smiling at his almost 3-year-old son Noe, who runs into his arms, asking to play together with the soccer ball.

Infographic: A story of good health

Last week, we explored World Vision's WASH programs (water, sanitation, and hygiene), including the effectiveness of these programs in promoting better health in communities.

But World Vision's work in the health sector is much wider in scope than WASH programs alone! This week, we delve deeper into our impact in a wide variety of health issues -- including child and maternal health, HIV and AIDS, and malaria.

The gossamer thread, part 2: A different story

Today is World Malaria Day! Join World Vision in remembering the lives devastated by this preventable, treatable disease -- and in our mission of eradicating it from the world.

Yesterday, part 1 of "The gossamer thread" brought you into the lives of three families who have seen malaria's tragic effects firsthand. Today's story is decidedly more hopeful: It highlights the miraculous change a few square meters of netting has brought about for another Mozambican family.

The gossamer thread, part 1: Three families

Tomorrow is World Malaria Day -- a moment to remember the lives of children, families, and communities devastated by this preventable, treatable disease that we can stop.

Today, we open a two-part series with the stories of three families in Mozambique who have been affected by malaria. Make sure you check back tomorrow to read about a family whose lives have been transformed by the simple miracle of bed nets.

Afghanistan: Worst place to be a mother

Today's story comes from western Afghanistan, a region with one of the highest under-5 mortality rates and where maternal death in childbirth is a serious concern. The 10x10 film Girl Rising shows how these issues affect women in Afghanistan, and how education can help them.

St. Patrick's Day: Irish promote health in Africa

On this St. Patrick’s Day, I am honored to have the chance to tell all of our committed supporters about the work World Vision's advocates in Ireland are doing to assist communities in six African nations.

[Video] Without children, there is no future

For people in developing nations, health clinics are often the only link between them and the medicines they so desperately need.

Kris Allen, host of the 2012 True Spirit of Christmas Tour, had a chance to visit a health clinic in Bartabwa, Kenya. See how gifts given through the World Vision Gift Catalog are helping to save lives.

A picture of health

The mood is somber as babies wait to be examined and receive immunizations. I meet Purity, 30, and her 2-year-old son, Sheldon, while they were waiting to be seen. Sheldon suffers from high fever, poor appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Caring for two lives: Q & A with a midwife

“It is not an easy task to perform. I have [responsibility for] two lives at a time -- the mother and the baby,” says Aklima Begum, 48. Aklima lives in Bangladesh and is highly respected in her community. 

Thanks to World Vision, Aklima was able to be educated and certified as a midwife. Midwifery is an extremely important skill for her community, since many families can't afford to see a doctor or stay in a hospital. The lives of mothers and infants are put at risk when they don't have access to proper prenatal care or a safe birthing environment.

Through her education in midwifery, Aklima is able to provide skilled care to mothers who would otherwise have to go without it.

Malaria: The disease that silences laughter

Today, I bought a coffin.

We spent the morning in a village in Mozambique visiting Marita, a dear little girl whose best friend had died of malaria last year.

Marita was still grieving. She sat quietly while the rest of the children played in high spirits, shouting and laughing through a game of soccer.

Marita’s mother invited us to come back later for supper. Hospitality can never be refused, even when the givers have so little. Marita’s father makes just $48 a year in a country to which both people and nature have been unkind.

Malaria: Battling the "plague of the poor"

Today is World Malaria Day. One of the top killers of children globally, malaria remains a serious threat in African countries like Mozambique -- even though it's completely preventable and treatable, and even though it was eradicated here in the United States more than half a century ago.

Tom Costanza, a World Vision videographer, shares reflections from a trip to Mozambique, contrasting the elimination of malaria in the United States and its continued devastating effects, both on children and adults, in developing countries.

But simple solutions exist that save lives. And you can help.

Malaria: The source of a mother’s torment

World Malaria Day is coming up on April 25. This preventable, treatable disease was eradicated in the United States in the early 1950s -- but even today, it continues to devastate lives in places like Kenya, where simple interventions could end suffering for mothers like Elizabeth. Read her story below and consider how you can take action to help accomplish what was done in this country decades ago.

Fast facts on child health

I’m at that phase in life when a lot of my friends are having babies. Within six weeks, I will have gone to three baby showers! I’m thinking about how many prenatal doctor appointments women have in the United States -- and how many checkups and appointments most newborns have in their first year of life.

But what if there was no doctor to visit? No hospital or nearby clinic? No family doctor or trained midwife?

What would happen? Maternal and child mortality rates would go up.

The malaria scare

[caption id="attachment_12514" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="Nicole Suka gives her 3-year-old son, Yangana, a sip of water as he receives a blood transfusion for his severe case of malaria."]The malaria scare | World Vision Blog[/caption]

People like me, who thought the world was winning the war against malaria, might have gotten a rude awakening earlier this month following the release of a report by researchers at the University of Washington.

'If he survives' -- memories from Papua New Guinea

Tune in to your local ABC station on the evening of December 16 for a special edition of “20/20” with Diane Sawyer and ABC's Million Moms campaign as they examine modern-day health issues for children and mothers. For more from the ABC Million Moms Challenge, "like" their page on Facebook.

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As a photojournalist with World Vision through much of the 1980s and 1990s, I long ago lost count of the number of rural health clinics I have visited. The vacant looks on the faces of the mothers, too tired and stressed to focus; the babies in their arms, some crying softly, some shrieking in fear and discomfort; others -- too many -- lethargic and still, seemingly lifeless dolls on their parent’s laps or on filthy blankets on the floor of a decaying health facility.

It was hard to look into those tiny faces, some of which I knew wouldn’t survive much longer unless they received urgent medical care, which usually wasn’t available at the time.

Dr. Lisa Masterson of "The Doctors" works in Malawi with World Vision

Dr. Lisa Masterson, a host of the Emmy Award-winning TV series "The Doctors," traveled to Malawi earlier this year to work with World Vision at a local clinic. Here, she shares about her memorable experience assisting with the delivery of a baby, whose health was made possible through effective prenatal care and education.

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When I arrived, she was eight centimeters dilated. For this laboring mother, there was no cozy birthing bed, no epidural, no family member present to hold her hand. Sera, the clinic midwife, greeted me with a demure smile that I would later realize belied tremendous strength and skill.

In June, I had the privilege of serving in the Chiwamba Health Center in Malawi. The trip was the culmination of a year-long partnership with the UN Foundation and the television show I host, “The Doctors.”

For nearly a decade, I’ve made it my mission to improve child and maternal health in developing nations. I founded a charity, Maternal Fetal Care International, established clinics in Kenya and Eritrea, and worked in India. I tell you this because I want you to know that my experience with World Vision in Malawi was not new or unfamiliar, and yet it was profound.

What does 7-11 have to do with child and maternal health?

Watching the news or following blogs like this one the last couple of months may have you more curious about the international community's efforts to improve child and maternal health world wide (or at least we hope so). This blog and our homepage have intentionally featured an ongoing focus on child and maternal health recently.

Part of the reason is because of World Vision's Child Health Now campaign that is dedicated to providing children worldwide with access to basic medical care, adequate nutrition, and disease prevention -- all so that they can grow up healthy in their communities and avoid illness or death from preventable causes.

Additionally, our partnership with the ABC News Million Moms Challenge is a focused effort to raise awareness and funds to help mothers and children survive and thrive all across the globe.

On one level, child and maternal health may seem quite basic -- as simple as providing children and mothers with nutritious food, clean water, and basic healthcare (such as immunizations and medical consultations)...

But is it really so simple? In places affected by poverty, how do you deliver solutions to the most vulnerable children and mothers?