When Eva gave birth to her son Meshake, she was delirious with happiness. For the first few months of his life, he was a sweet, smiling boy. But when her son was just six months old, Eva began having difficulties breastfeeding. Meshake stopped gaining weight and grew dangerously weak. When he got a terrible fever, Eva feared the worst.

Still, she didn’t give up hope for her son. She brought him to Medical Teams, where they were both treated. Eva and Meshake’s story is a reminder of the importance of breastfeeding, and how caring for mothers also helps care for children.

Read on to hear more of Eva and Meshake’s story!

Leaving the Democratic Republic of Congo

Eva and her husband loved working the land in their home country of the Democratic Republic of Congo. When it was peaceful enough to farm, they were happy to raise their children and grow food to sell at markets. Even when war broke out, they hoped they could continue to farm. It was a struggle to keep their farm afloat while conflict affected the areas around them, but they tried.

Then, one terrible night changed their lives forever. Rebels hid in the jungle near their village, then began firing explosives and guns when darkness fell. They lit Eva’s neighbors’ house on fire.

Eva says,

“We saw people running…then realized time was no longer in our favor. We decided to run with everyone else.”

It’s hard to imagine how terrifying this experience must have been their family. With 3 young children, they were faced with an impossible choice: stay in the conflict, or run into the unknown.

Getting help in Uganda

Eva, a mother in Uganda, looks at her son Meshake
Eva and her son Meshake were treated by Medical Teams. Photo by Suhaila Stanthon Thawer.

When they reached the safety of Uganda, Eva began to feel hopeful about their lives again. The birth of her son, her fourth child, was an especially joyful moment. So, when an infection in her breast made it difficult to feed him, she was devastated by his weight loss. Eva wasn’t sure where to turn to, so she did the best she could to care for her son. When she couldn’t breastfeed, she began mix-feeding when he was less than 6 months old.

Then, a fever took hold of his small body. Eva says, “I prayed that he would make it to see another day. He was so pale; I couldn’t even recognize his face.”

Eva brought Meshake to a nearby hospital that charged high prices for the medication they said would help him. But there was little improvement. Understandably, Eva was heartbroken that her son was still struggling.

Happily, Eva found Medical Teams. Though she feared it was too late, our providers jumped into action to save Meshake’s life.

Eva says,

“Seeing my baby suffer from such a significant health issue was difficult. I am thankful to God for Medical Teams, as they helped my son recover.”

When she came to Medical Teams, Eva’s worst fears were put to rest. Providers treated Meshake for malaria and malnutrition. Equally importantly, our care teams treated Eva’s breast infection so she could breastfeed again.

She says, “I gladly share my gratitude to Medical Teams for their support of my son. I cannot believe that he’s now able to breastfeed!”

The importance of maternal health care

This story of healing emphasizes the importance of maternal health care. It’s possible that had Eva not gotten a breast infection and stopped breastfeeding Meshake, he would have never become malnourished. With the help of our network of community health workers, Medical Teams is working hard to help mothers understand how critical their health is to the health of their children. Through support groups, community health promotion, and increased access to care, Medical Teams is dedicated to improving maternal health care outcomes.

You can care for mothers like Eva by joining The Pulse, our community of passionate recurring donors who power the heartbeat of Medical Teams.