A one month old set of twins (a boy and a girl) were orphaned when their mother died in childbirth. Their grandmother is raising them, but had no means to nourish the infants, so Mercy Hospital is providing formula for them.
As the nutrition outreach program expands, Mercy is seeing more cases like this one, and providing care that is not otherwise available. There is no other facility in Bo that provides formula to motherless babies.
Update on Jeneba: Jeneba's grandmother brought the baby back to Mercy just one week after receiving the milk, and she already looks so much healthier. It is amazing how something so simple as formula could make such a huge impact in only a week.
Below left, Jeneba is wrapped in a blanket made and donated by volunteer Malessa Porter. Jeneba's grandma loves the blanket and always keeps the baby wrapped in it. The name Jeneba means "beautiful one" in Mende, and indeed she is a beautiful baby.
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!
A young mother came to Mercy Hospital seeking treatment for one of her six month old twins, who was suffering from diarrhea and vomiting. Her husband had abandoned her when she was five months pregnant with the twins and she was destitute. The sick baby was diagnosed and treated, and both twins met the criteria for enrollment in Mercy's Nutrition Program. The mother was supplied with Bennemix for the babies. "She was speechless to say thanks to our service, instead she burst into tears," Hospital Administrator Jinnah Lahai reported.
Nine month old Batu Johnny weighs just 15 pounds. Thanks to the Mercy Outreach team and the generous support of donors, Batu was enrolled in the nutrition program, and has received her first package of Bennimix. Her mother Agnes is so grateful. "The Bennimix supply by Mercy Hospital Outreach team has increased my child’s appetite and nourished her. With three children to cater for, at times I only can afford a single meal a day. Thanks for the intervention of the Mercy Hospital Outreach team, my baby will have enough every day.”
Millicent Koroma, 18 months old, was examined in her village of Nyandehun by the Mercy Hospital Outreach team. Weighing just 16 pounds, Millicent is enrolled in Mercy’s nutrition program, and has received 6 packages of Bennimix over the past six months.
When the staff examined her, they discovered that she had a high fever, cough and appeared to be in serious respiratory distress. She and her mother were referred to Mercy Hospital for prompt medical intervention. As soon as she recovered, she and her mother were able to return home.
Mercy Hospital's Nutrition program reaches 11 communities outside of Bo, but the nutrition program also operates out of the main hospital, for those close enough to Mercy to access it there. Two month old Baby Samuel King was brought to Mercy Hospital's local nutrition program by his grandmother, as his mother recently passed away. Unfortunately, the family has no one who is able to breastfeed Samuel and the family is unable to afford formula.
The Outreach Coordinator, together with the local District Nutrition Unit, identified this baby as extremely vulnerable and prone to malnutrition (he currently weighs only 4.1 kg and 52 cm long). Mercy Hospital has committed to purchasing him formula on a monthly basis and monitoring him until he get old enough to transfer to Bennimix/solid foods.