‘Oh no, please not again!’ Scovia had already suffered the loss of three premature babies. ‘What if my husband gets a new wife because I failed to produce a child? Am I truly cursed as my neighbour claims? Who will care for me when I am old?’
Scovia was 7 months pregnant and in labour. Fearfully, she went to her nearby clinic. Her little girl was born weighing 1kg (2.4 pounds). Scovia looked at her daughter, perfectly formed but so small and fragile – her skin transparent, her heartbeat and rib cage visible as she protested against her new, cold surroundings. The nurse suggested she go to Kiwoko Hospital.
Was there any point? How would she pay expensive medical bills? What about food? The nurse encouraged her that she had heard of small babies surviving there and persuaded Scovia’s husband to pay for transport.
Alone and frightened, Scovia set off over bumpy dirt roads. It was the dry season with dust everywhere. Her daughter was strapped to her chest in what the nurse had called ‘kangaroo mother care’. Scovia did her best to keep the dust from her tiny face.
When she reached Kiwoko Hospital, both Scovia and her baby were exhausted. The neonatal unit was hot and noisy with alarms sounding and babies crying. A nurse took her baby to a cot, calling her colleague to help. Her voice sounded urgent. Nurses and a doctor crowded around working on her baby.
Finally the doctor came to talk to Scovia. She explained that her baby was very small and might not survive, however such small babies had survived at Kiwoko and they would do all they could, including praying.
Unbeknown to her, the doctor was feeling the injustice of Scovia’s situation. She had been able to give a much more positive outlook of 90% survival to mothers in the UK with babies this size. The doctor reminded herself that this was why she was here, and also of the hospital motto “We treat, Jesus heals.”
Scovia’s baby faced a tricky first week. Scovia watched as her daughter forgot to breathe and had needles inserted into her tiny veins. She expressed milk for her, initially just a few drops at a time.
After 17 days things improved! Her daughter, now called Blessing, no longer needed oxygen and began to gain weight. Scovia started to hope.
She watched how the staff clearly cared for each baby, and spoke compassionately to the mothers. ‘Why?’ She asked. One of the nurses explained that she was serving God by serving these families. She quoted Micah 6:8: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Scovia was also amazed to find that the care was heavily subsidised and her bill was very manageable.
When Blessing was well enough to go home, the staff reminded Scovia of their prayers and glorified God for answering. Scovia did not yet have saving faith, but was touched by the care Blessing received. She resolved to look further into this personal relationship with God they spoke of.
Please pray for Kiwoko Hospital; for our staff, and for God to work in the lives of patients like Scovia and Blessing.