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Clean water gives newborns in Uganda a fighting chance



  • June 15, 2019
Kelsey Campbell
Kelsey Campbell

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“You want to wash his hair gently,” the nurse said softly. “His head is still sensitive.”

I watched as the nurse carefully dipped the top of my newborn nephew’s head under the sink in the hospital room. Wide-eyed, my sister watched anxiously as the clean water ran down the back of his head, slowly washing away the soap.

He was so new and so fragile, and the nurse took extra care to make sure he was nice and clean — just like his mother would ensure once she took him home.

I’m sure the nurse had shown countless mothers how to wash their newborn babies … no matter the mother’s social status, wealth, or how many children she already had. Each baby needs a healthy, clean start.

That’s where his care begins —clean water.

But mothers across the globe don’t have access to clean water to take care of their babies. So, when their child is first born, their only choice is to wipe him off using contaminated water.

According to one organization, “one in five newborn deaths in the developing world is due to a lack of safe water, sanitation, and clean hands.”

Lydia, who is a nurse in Uganda, hated that the maternity clinic where she worked didn’t have access to clean water. She tried to show her patients how to care for their babies, but she knew — without the proper supplies — the mothers wouldn’t be able to keep their children alive.

“I have served in this medical center for five years, but our main challenge is water,” Lydia explained. “Since we deal with pregnant women and birthing mothers, a lot of water is needed in cleaning the place and using it to wash.”

But all that the maternity clinic had access to was water filled with bacteria.

And most of the time, that water contained mercury, something pregnant women and new mothers in first-world countries are instructed to avoid. Not to mention that women who had just given birth had to heal and regain their strength while using and drinking dirty water, too.

Lydia and the rest of the staff prayed for clean water so they could better treat their patients, and their prayers were answered!

Generous donors provided a nearby well so the clinic and the surrounding community could access clean water. Unfortunately, since this was the only water well nearby, it was always very crowded, and the clinic’s staff still had to stand in long lines to get water for their patients.

The staff began praying again. Sure enough, before long another well was provided just outside the clinic. Now the women in Lydia’s village have access to plenty of clean water while at the maternity clinic as well as when they return home.

This is important because the need for water continues while the mother is breastfeeding. If a mother is dehydrated, she can’t produce enough milk to feed her child. This can lead to a child facing malnutrition and stunted growth.

“We are happy and thankful to everyone God used to give us this water source. Thank you!” Lydia said.

Water is a universal need, from the tiniest baby to his great-grandparents. And for only $15, you can provide the lifesaving gift of water for one person for an entire year. You can help a new mom give her infant a fighting chance, help a child battling life-threatening waterborne diseases, or help a father have adequate water to care for his crops and feed his family.

You’ll be helping to raise up a new generation of healthy children.

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