Central African Republic
At 14 months, Agrippa was infected with malaria so severely that when his mother brought him to the Emmanuel Health Center, a project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Central African Republic, doctors found that over half of his red blood cells had been destroyed, leaving him on the edge of possibly fatal anemia.
As is common in areas where malaria is rampant and medical facilities are scarce, "many people develop partial immunity to malaria," says the Rev. Deborah Troester, a missionary serving in the Central African Republic, "but the parasite can remain in their blood, where it continues to destroy red blood cells."
When there aren't enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body, Deborah says, people often die – especially infants and small children, who are more susceptible than adults.
Agrippa was able to receive a blood transfusion, as well as a treatment to kill the remaining parasites in his system. It’s lifesaving procedures like this that are made possible through gifts to the ELCA Malaria Campaign as we work with our Lutheran partners in the Central African Republic and in 10 other countries in Africa.
"In a country where thousands of babies and children die needlessly every year," Deborah says, "it's nice to know of one baby who will live."
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Photo credit: Deborah Troester/ELCA