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Subject: Through his young eyes: Yonas' story
Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2006 11:06:31 -0700
From: "Ed Wood, Clinton Foundation" <edw@ClintonFoundation.org

Through his young eyes: Yonas' story


Yonas is just one of the thousands of lives saved, but there are millions more who need the life saving treatment our Foundation has helped to provide.


Dear Bircan,


I wanted to follow up on the emails you received from President Clinton and Bruce Lindsey talking about the work our Foundation is doing in Africa and introducing you to one of our many hard-working staff members in the field.  Today I want to tell you about our work as seen through the smallest eyes.

As Special Advisor to the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI), I get to see and hear stories of triumph and heartbreak from Africa every week.  While there is so much work yet to be done, here is a success story I heard from our staff in Ethiopia.

In May of this year, Yonas arrived at a clinic our Foundation helps to run.  He was incredibly small for his age (a little over a year and a half) and suffering from a three-month bout of severe chronic diarrhea.

Yonas was HIV positive. His mother, also HIV positive, died four months earlier.  Although free, life-saving antiretroviral treatments (ART) were available at the time of her death, she died before her test results arrived at the clinic.  Because Yonas's mother was unaware of her HIV status, she had been breast-feeding Yonas.

Yonas was brought to the clinic by his grandmother who is a leprosy patient at the hospital.  Dr. Solomie, the pediatrician at the clinic supported by the Clinton Foundation, examined Yonas, treated him for diarrhea and started him on ART.  Although most children are under follow-up for some time before starting ART, Yonas's immune system had already been severely compromised, and he needed to start immediately if there was any hope of saving his life.

Within three weeks of arriving at the clinic, Yonas experienced a reaction to the drugs and had to be transferred to a local hospital.  After being treated, Yonas returned and has grown into a playful boy with a wide, healthy smile.

Yonas now lives with his father, who is actively involved in his life and health.  After Yonas's mother's death, his father was also tested and found to be HIV positive.  Fortunately, he has also been able to access free ART at the adult clinic.

A nurse describes Yonas as having "returned from his death bed."  Few people, including his family, had any hope he would survive, yet Yonas is now one of the most healthy and well-developed children being seen at the clinic.  He draws, babbles, calls his father "Ababa," and is a bright and happy child.

When President Clinton visits the clinic where Yonas was treated later this month, he will help break ground for a new pediatric ward.   This new building will be constructed in partnership with the Christian Children's Fund of Canada, the Ethiopian North American Health Professionals Association (ENAHPA), and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health - the same partnership that currently operates the adult clinic.

Yonas is just one of the thousands of lives saved, but there are millions more who need the life saving treatment our Foundation has helped to provide.

I hope you have a better idea of what the Clinton Foundation is doing on the ground in Africa.  Over the next few weeks, you will hear from President Clinton and others about his trip and ways you can get involved in this fight.

Thank you.

 

Ed Wood

 

For more information: Clinton Foundation 
http://www.clintonfoundation.org/



LIGHTMILLENNIUM.ORG #18th Issue
Summer-2006
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