Safety in Numbers

How community health workers are helping fight killer diseases in the developing world

Evelyn Hockstein / Polaris for TIME

In Sauri, Kenya, Mary Wasonga is improving the health of some 200 households by encouraging that births occur in a hospital.

AIDS can kill by stigma even when lifesaving medical treatment is available. Until recently, an HIV-infected woman in Sauri, Kenya, was discouraged by her husband, also HIV-infected, from seeking medical care because of his fear of stigma. All too often, death quickly ensues in such cases. But not in this one. Husband and wife were saved by Mary Wasonga, a fellow villager recently trained to be a community health worker by the Millennium Village Project, which is helping more than 400,000 people in dozens of African communities fight extreme poverty, hunger and disease. Wasonga visited the couple and encouraged them to...

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