It was a routine day of clinics when the YWAM primary health care team first met Grace* and her two-month-old baby girl, Ruth.*
Grace sat crossed legged on the floor on a woven mat with her crying baby in her arms as she shared her story with the nurse. Grace was on treatment for Tuberculosis (TB), which had affected her milk supply for Ruth.
As the nurse looked down at Ruth, she could see that the tiny newborn was very malnourished; she was fighting for survival in her mother’s arms.
Grace and her baby were introduced to YWAM’s doctor and midwife who examined the baby and prescribed medication to Grace to help stimulate milk production. Grace and her husband were also provided with formula, a milk bottle (in case Grace’s milk supply did not improve), and education on nutrition.
Four months later, YWAM Medical Ships returned to Grace’s village. Grace and baby Ruth, now six months old, were both looking dramatically different to when the team first met the pair in November. Ruth was alert and smiling, and while still underweight for her age, she had improved significantly.
Grace was pleased to report that the medication had helped increase her milk supply and the formula was only needed occasionally.
Grace was near the end of her TB treatment and was found to be healthy and well.
YWAM Medical Ships volunteer, Gaby Matassa, met Grace and Ruth during both of their visits to the YWAM clinic. Gaby said she was so pleased to see Ruth’s improvement over the last four months.
“I was surprised to see Ruth alive, let alone healthy and well, when I saw her last week.
“The praise here goes to the parents who were diligent in taking the medication and applying the education that was given to them. Against all odds, they fought for Ruth’s life.
“The once-was crying, malnourished, baby was giving us big smiles in her mother’s arms, she was full of joy and life, it was beautiful to see,” said Gaby.
The parent’s fight for Ruth’s life is not only a great outcome for their family, but is also a testament to their region, which faces some of the highest TB and child mortality rates in the country.
Over the last two weeks, YWAM Medical Ships has visited over 33 villages along the Bamu and South Fly Rivers in collaboration with Middle Fly District Health. Together the team have treated over 3,400 patients.