You arrive at the local mission hospital so fatigued you can barely walk. You’re coughing, it hurts to breathe, and you shiver uncontrollably from the fever ravaging your body. In your arms you barely manage to hold on to your 3-month-old infant. He’s so tiny, he appears to be a just-born premature baby. His body is wasted and dehydrated, with no baby fat.
How had this happened?
The Danger of Tuberculosis
“Baby L’s mother was admitted to the hospital in a weakened state, not lactating. She tested positive for tuberculosis,” explains grant recipient Dr. Lindsey Cooper.
In the part of sub-Saharan Africa where Dr. Cooper serves, mothers arrive at the hospital in this condition all too often. According to the WHO, the incidence of tuberculosis in the area is at endemic levels. Pregnancy is a time when women have re-activation of tuberculosis infections. It puts the life of an expectant mother at risk. The risk of spontaneous miscarriage and premature birth skyrockets. As we see in cases like Baby L, the infant born to an infected mother is at grave risk of not surviving.
Compassionate Care Makes a Difference
Thankfully, due to the compassionate care available through Dr. Cooper, Baby L’s mother was treated, and the baby began gaining weight rapidly with infant formula and treatment of his infections. “His skin is clearing of insect infestation, and he is beginning to smile. Fortunately, he has not shown any signs of active tuberculosis and has been receiving medication to prevent tuberculosis,” she says.
Dr. Cooper feels strongly that a mother’s presence in a family determines the whole family’s health. “If a woman is healthy the chances that her children are thriving are also very good,” she says. “Not a day goes by when we feel like we aren’t making a difference or that God has work to do here.”
Supporting MedSend means grant recipients like Dr. Cooper can make sure vulnerable mothers are healthy, at-risk kids are thriving, and entire communities are impacted with God’s love and the hope of salvation. Will you consider helping healthcare missionaries save more lives like Baby L and his mother?
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