Kim Nabieu, Medical Programs Field Director
Jeneba celebrated her 3 month birthday at Mercy Hospital. The previous day, she had been brought into Bo from a faraway village. Her mother died not long after giving birth to her, most likely of pregnancy/delivery related issues. Jeneba’s grandmother was attempting to care for her but without breastmilk, the only alternative was to give the baby water which she occasionally added sugar or milk to.
After almost three months, Jeneba's grandmother knew something was wrong. The baby was not growing and was the size and weight of a newborn. Worried, she called her sister, Memu, who lives in Bo. Immediately, Memu told her sister to send the baby to her and the next day she traveled to Mercy Hospital with Jeneba.
Mercy staff immediately identified Jeneba as an at-risk patient. As she is still below six months of age, Mercy determined that the family should be giving her formula. This is very cost prohibitive (a can of formula costs $5 and lasts about a week). Mercy was able to provide a can to the family and has committed to supplying Jeneba with the nutritious milk she needs until she is 6 months old and able to eat the Bennimix provided in the Mercy Nutrition program.
Memu chose to bring Jeneba to Mercy because she had heard from a neighbor that Mercy had cared for their malnourished child during a village outreach event.
This is an awesome story of the impact Mercy can have, how the outreaches spread word of our programs, and the wonderful extended family system in Sierra Leone.
Also worth noting is that we have seen children whose mothers have died, and they didn't make it because the intervention wasn't early enough. I think we have enough time that this will save the child’s life! Go Mercy! There is no other organization I know that does this……what an important gap to fill!