Quick Treatment for Mariam
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It was a rough month for the children here. I saw four small children with malaria, diarrhea and vomiting. The most serious case was a 5-month girl named Mariam. She is the fifth child of the Bagayoko family – she has three sisters and one brother. On Friday evening, Mariam's mother noticed she had a fever and she seemed lightheaded, like she might faint. Mariam refused to breastfeed and she no longer wanted to play with her sisters. Then she started having diarrhea and vomiting. Fortunately, the mother did not wait to come to me for help. She brought Mariam to my house that same evening, and I examined her. Her case was very serious – beyond what I could safely treat here in the village – so I referred her immediately to the community health center.
The next day, very early, the family took Mariam to the health center. The doctor there diagnosed malaria and gave her antibiotics, oral rehydration solution and zinc for the diarrhea, and a drug called Coartem for the malaria. The cost of these treatments was about $15, which is a lot of money here, but the family managed to pay it.
When Mariam returned from the health center, I visited her at home frequently to make sure she was getting her medicine correctly and her health was improving. I counseled the family about household sanitation, nutritious food and other health precautions. The last time I visited, I'm happy to say, Mariam was feeling much better. She was laughing and playing with her sisters. It could have very easily gone the other way for Mariam. If she hadn't gotten help quickly when she needed it, she might not be here with us today.