The Story of Christine and Her Son Stephen
By Simeon Kashala, MD
Kapanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, June 29, 2009--Christine, 13 years old, is a maiden who was forced by her parents to marry early as tradition requires here. Christine became pregnant very early, before the maturation of her mental functions and especially her physical body (the hip bone was still undeveloped).
On the day of delivery, Christine underwent a caesarean section and, thank you God, she and her baby--Stephen--left the hospital. Christine lives in a poor environment that does not allow her to take care of her baby as needed. Christine is herself poorly nourished; her breasts do not secrete enough milk for her baby.
Six months later, Stephen was hospitalized in our pediatric ward at Samuteb Memorial United Methodist Hospital for diarrhea and anemia. His general condition was marked by malnutrition. Two weeks later, Stephen left the hospital after being transfused and cured of malaria and worms. Three months later, he contracted measles and died after a few days. It was really sad.
Unfortunately, the experience of Christine and Stephen are common in our community, and we live every day with the stress of similar cases. The non-schooling of girls is a problem in villages, and many parents push their girls to marry early. We see:
- Many caesarean sections are performed in the hospital if the girl is brought to the hospital. Of all deliveries in the maternity ward, caesarean sections average 20% per month.
- Many cases of maternal death occur in which delivery is performed in villages.
- Many cases of infant death occur.
Because of this sad situation, our role is not only to treat these patients but also to inform, educate, and sensitize parents to reduce the number of early marriages. We visit villages by car or motorcycle to talk, discuss, and raise awareness among traditional leaders and parents.
We sincerely thank all the churches and people who support this ministry in Kapanga because their support is saving lives through the care provided by Samuteb Memorial Hospital, and through information sessions, education, and awareness. With limited resources, huge needs, and many challenges to solve, we solicit your support to make this ministry possible.
Thank you and God bless.
You can help UMCOR provide support for this and other hospitals and clinics by giving to Hospital Revitalization, UMCOR Advance #982168. You can support Dr. Kashala as a Global Ministries' missionary through Advance #15164Z
Doctor Simeon Kashala is a United Methodist missionary and director of the Samuteb Memorial United Methodist Hospital at Kapanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo.