Motherless Babies Receive Care in Nigeria

Originally published in 1936

Missionary Ruth M. Kersey writes from West Africa:

In Nigeria many women die at the time of the delivery of their children. These babies are usually very small, often premature and weighing anywhere from three to five pounds. The people realize that it is almost impossible for them to rear these babies; very rarely this may be done if there is another woman in the same compound who has a small baby and who will nurse the one left motherless, but very few women will do this as they think their own baby will die if they do.

The first of these babies to be cared for by the hospital staff was brought here eleven years ago. Since that time many babies have been cared for, but many of these babies have died. Some have returned to their fathers when they were two years old and have there died. We have not been able to get the Yorubas to adopt these children even when both parents have died.

Several years ago the women of Virginia gave the money to build a home for these children. The house was built under the supervision of Doctor Lockett. Until last year the work was a part of the hospital and was supported from the limited funds of the hospital. At the mission meeting in July, 1935, this was separated from the hospital and its support was undertaken by the W.M.U. of Virginia. We hope that with one missionary giving all of her time to this work we may be able to save more of the babies and have more time for the training of the larger children. Who knows but what some of the future Baptist leaders may come from among the boys and girls whose lives have been saved and who are being trained here?

Excerpted from “Woman’s Missionary Union” by Kathleen Mallory, Home and Foreign Fields, November 1936, p. 28-32.