It was the middle of the night and first-time mother Rosemary Shirima was cradling her nine-month-old son, Aidan, who had come down with the seemingly common stomach bug. Rosemary was doing all she could to help her baby, but none of the usual remedies were helping Aidan’s rapidly deteriorating condition.
Rosemary, who is a teacher at Gyetighi Primary School, immediately brought Aidan to our Rural Community Health Clinic. The listless baby was then rushed to our partner hospital FAME Medical. Despite intensive medical management, FAME doctors recommended that the now seizing and unconscious Aidan be transferred to a pediatric ICU in Arusha. Aidan received a working diagnosis of shigella encephalopathy, a serious bacterial infection that had reached his brain. With oxygen levels dropping, doctors became concerned that Aidan’s organs were shutting down. Preparing for the worst, Aidan’s parents and grandparents took turns hugging, kissing, and holding him for what could be the last time.
In what can only be described as a miracle, baby Aidan opened his eyes. With the help of continued medical interventions and the love of a village, Aidan’s health began to improve. Discharged from the ICU and admitted to a rehabilitation center to further his progress, Aidan slowly became his joyful self again.
While Rosemary recognizes that TCF’s significant financial support in covering hospital stays, clinic visits, medications, and transportation is what has made Aidan’s recovery possible, Rosemary is most grateful for the social and emotional support from the TCF Staff. The phone calls, the home visits, and the continuous offers to help allowed Rosemary and her family to feel loved and comforted throughout this frightening experience.
In any other village, Aidan’s situation would have been tragic. However, Rosemary, a vibrant member of our community, was able to provide her only child with the best care possible and had advocates fighting alongside her every step of the way. In appreciation, Rosemary says “TCF has helped me more than what I thought was possible. TCF saved his life.”
As members of our team joined Rosemary and her family in celebrating Aidan’s first birthday, we were able to dream about his bright future together. Whether he grows up to be a teacher at Gyetighi Primary School like his Mom or a pediatrician like those who cared for him, we will always be grateful for the memory of watching Aidan enjoy his first taste of birthday cake.