From Dr. Lindsey Cooper, CHSC Pediatrician serving at Nyankunde Hospital
in Democratic Republic of Congo
My eyes picked them out from across the room at the outpatient malnutrition clinic, a very young girl holding a very small 5-month old baby. They were admitted last week with severe anemia and malnutrition. The mother was barely able to communicate how she was feeling, but nodded when asked if she felt dizzy. When asked if she was willing to stay in the hospital, she said without hesitation, “Yes!” They both remain critically ill and have received life-saving transfusions. Now we begin the difficult process of re-feeding and providing the social support required. It seems that the mother has pellagra, a deficiency in Vitamin B3 (Nicotinic acid) one of the more common vitamin deficiencies in adults. This likely explains a lot of her mental dullness. It seems that this young mother lacks family support and we are struggling with how to provide for all of their needs. There are so many difficult aspects to this case. Pray for a home visit to occur this next week and that we would have wisdom in how best to care for this young girl, that she would experience the love of Christ through the hospital staff. Pray that we would treat her like we would treat our own family members. Pray for rapid healing.