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‘We’ll dance for three days when we have the new health centre’  


The world’s most dangerous place to become a mum is the focus of this year's Christian Aid Week (12-18 May). Through stories like Tenneh's, the international development charity explores the precarious nature of health care and childbirth in Sierra Leone - and the difference you can make

CAID Week Tenneh

Tenneh’s story
Tenneh plays with her precious baby Ansumana. She blows raspberries on his belly. Lifting her baby up high she beams with joy. Tenneh gave birth to Ansumana three months ago. Thankfully, he’s a happy, bouncy baby. But Tenneh has lost and loved another baby before.
When Tenneh’s labour started during her first pregnancy, there was no health centre in the village. Her mum took her to a traditional birth attendant. For the two days of her labour, Tenneh was in agony. She fell unconscious and was bleeding heavily. With very little medical training, the birth attendant was way out of her depth.
In the days and months after her labour, Tenneh felt very weak and her baby wouldn’t breastfeed. Tragically, her baby died when he was three months old.
‘That day I will never forget,’ she recalls. ‘I felt sick like I’ve never been sick before.
‘If God would not have saved me, I would not be alive today.’

New hope 

Through our partner RADA (Rehabilitation and Development Agency), Christian Aid saw how difficult the situation in Sawula village was and began working to ensure that mums and babies have fullness of life.
RADA has been working locally to help vulnerable women access healthcare, improve hygiene with simple interventions like handwashing and, with your support, build a bigger, better health care centre.
Thankfully, when Tenneh was pregnant a second time, things had changed for good. This time, she had nurse Judith by her side. With her expert love and care, Judith helped Tenneh deliver her baby safely.
Tenneh said: ‘During my second labour, I was scared. But nurse Judith was with me, assuring me of everything. When I delivered, I felt so good.’
‘With the coming of Judith, so many lives have changed,’ Tenneh continued. ‘We know that with Judith, as long as we see the light at the end of the tunnel, we’ll be OK.’
Thanks to nurse Judith and the medical training you helped provide, Tenneh could hold her beautiful baby boy in her arms.

A health centre for all 

The community in Sawula dream of having a health centre that can meet their needs. The current health centre is the size of a small bedroom. Operations, deliveries and baby checkups all happen in one single room with only two delivery beds.
Nurse Judith works around the clock to meet the needs of mums and young children who come to the clinic. But the need is great, and sometimes she’s forced to send people away.
When women come to the clinic at night, there’s no light for Judith to use. So she has to ask her patients to bring a torch to see by.
In addition to this, there are often not enough drugs at the clinic. Judith sees diseases like malaria and typhoid, especially in children. She has to go on a motorbike or sometimes walk for three hours to collect drugs.
‘I need help,’ nurse Judith says. ‘Women are dying from childbirth, children under five are dying, because of poverty. Please help us.’
For Tenneh, and many mums like her, a new health centre would be like a dream come true:
‘We’ll dance for three days when we have the new health centre,’ she says.
With your support today, we could work alongside Judith’s community to build a bigger, better health centre to help more mums like Tenneh give birth safely.


Image | Tenneh and baby Ansumana receive care from nurse Judith at the community clinic | Christian Aid/Tom Pilston

Christian Aid Week brings Christians together with a common purpose to achieve something incredible. Can your church come together to raise £300 this Christian Aid Week?
A gift of £300 could provide a delivery bed for a new health centre giving mums a safe place to deliver their babies. We need your support now, more than ever.
With every envelope, every Big Brekkie, and every click, every one of us can help deliver babies safely. 

To get involved and order your resources please visit


Baptist Times, 26/04/2019
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