Doctors in Ethiopia save young boy with malaria


Woman holding baby with doctor

Medina and Abdulalem Mathair are celebrating the recovery of their youngest son, one-year-old Abdulalem.

The young Abdulalem was treated by doctors at a general hospital in rural Ethiopia after his parents noticed something was off. He was crying non-stop, had spiked a fever that wouldn’t subside, and couldn’t keep anything down.

The family brought Abdulalem in for an emergency checkup where doctors confirmed he had malaria, a potentially fatal disease typically transmitted through a bite from an infected mosquito.

Moms and babies in developing countries are at a much higher risk of mortality than their Canadian counterparts. An estimated 5.4 million children under the age of five died in 2017 and roughly half of those deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Zerihun Chala, the hospital’s Delegate Medical Director, began employing Cuso International volunteers about two years ago to assist in building the hospital’s capacity to treat and save more people—particularly mothers and children.

Dr. Faith Paterson, who volunteered in the pediatric ward, is just one of numerous Cuso International volunteers who have lent their skills. Dr. Faith worked closely with her counterparts in Ethiopia, offering mentoring and training on medical procedures and tools.

The Mathairs watched as the medication began to work, Abdulalem getting better by the minute. His parents said they were grateful for the doctors’ quick diagnosis and treatment. With wide smiles, the family celebrated the best gift—a healthy and happy little boy.

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