Hygiene Programs Prevent Child Fatalities

December 18, 2015 • Democratic Republic of the Congo

After losing one son, I learned how to care for my others

Angelique Bungise is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and has lived with her husband since she was 12 years old. The two have four boys together but have never been legally married. Her parents took some goats as her dowry after they began living together.

My husband and I didn’t finish primary school. He mines gold for a living, but it doesn’t provide enough for us. In order to eat, I must work in the fields. I grow beans, maize, sweet potatoes, cassava, and squash. Sometimes my husband comes home late and is drunk. If we don’t have any food, he hits me.

I’ve had a lot of problems with my children getting sick. But since I started attending Samaritan’s Purse training sessions, I’ve been applying the lessons that I’ve learned. My little Benjamin has become a master at washing his hands. My other sons were continuing to share a bucket to wash their hands, and he told them that they must stop.

Hygiene Programs Prevent Child Fatalities

Ange feeds one of her sons after learning about nutritional food from Samaritan’s Purse.

Mama Samaritan (the health promoter) showed us how to wash our hands by pouring water on them and rubbing with soap. Previously, we only used water that we kept in a bucket and dipped our hands into. I now know that communal washing causes sickness.

My son Dieu Merci is always sick, even when I give him medicine. I end up taking him to the hospital, where he has to stay five to seven days. Not even two months go by without us having to take him there. Because I didn’t know how to recognize illness in children, I lost a son three years ago. But by using what Samaritan’s Purse has taught me, we’ve been visiting Nyankunde Hospital less.

Last week, Benjamin became sick again. Before I attended the health trainings, I would give him sedatives whenever he had a fever. By the third day, I would have to take him to the hospital and pay medical fees. Sometimes, I would also visit the witch doctor because I believed that sickness came from sorcery. Each time, life became progressively more difficult.

But with the teaching on malaria, I went to the health center right away, just as I had been instructed. The nurse told me that he had malaria and that he wouldn’t have to be hospitalized because I had brought him early. I’ve also started sleeping with a mosquito net.

I received three tablets to give him, and I fed him and gave him fruit juice as the Samaritan’s Purse nurse had recommended. Now Benjamin is healed without ever having been hospitalized or convulsing, and I didn’t have to pay a lot of money.

I’m proud to be a beneficiary of Samaritan’s Purse. In our community, they are praying with people, distributing Bibles, and teaching people how to garden. They also built a maternity ward. I’ve begun praying more, and I pray that God blesses this organization and that they are able to help mothers in other communities.