Esetu, a grandmother to two girls, woke up one day with a headache and fatigue. Her muscles ached and she was sweating a lot. It turned out that Esetu had typhoid fever.
But Esetu is feeling better now, thanks to the treatment she received at the SOS Medical Center in Jimma, Ethiopia, only a 10-minute walk from her home.
At the medical center, Esetu also received advice about how to prevent a recurrence of typhoid fever. The bacterial disease, although treatable, is caused by contaminated food and water and causes 220,000 deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization.
“The doctor told me to wash my hands after using the toilet, before eating or preparing food, and to avoid drinking untreated water,” Esetu says. “The doctor also warned me against swallowing water in the shower, and eating raw fruits, vegetables and food that have been stored at room temperature.”
Feeling better, Esetu can now play with her grandchildren and tend to the needs of her daughter and elderly mother. Esetu cares for all of them by herself.
Now healthy, Esetu is able to help her two grandchildren,Ayana and Fana, at home with their homework.
“I am a single mother with four mouths to feed: these two girls, my younger daughter and my elderly mother,” Esetu said. “I earn about [$66] per month from my catering business. With this income, I am able to meet the demands in my household with relative ease because the health costs are low. I thank the SOS Medical Center for helping us live a quality life,” Esetu says.
Esetu is not the only member in her family to benefit from the services at the medical center. About two months ago, her 4-year-old granddaughter was treated for a skin infection. In fact, in 2015, the center, which opened in 2012, served over 14,500 patients.
“Most of the diseases we treat here include skin infection, intestinal parasites, water-borne diseases, eye diseases, diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, contact dermatitis, malnutrition and sever pneumonia,” says Wro Yimegnushal Mamo, the health officer at the SOS Medical Center. “Most diseases are caused by poor sanitation and unhygienic living conditions,” she says.
Without this essential service, Esetu says her family would have been extremely vulnerable. Seeing a doctor at a private or government hospital is expensive, and this would eat into her budget, compromising her ability to feed the family.
With this affordable healthcare, many families and children are able to lead a healthier life. Esetu on her part, is able to make her health a priority. And when she is in good health, she is able to work, earn a living and do the most important thing of all—take care of the people she loves.
*Names of the children have been changed for privacy reasons
All Photos taken to by Terefe Gelawdios.