House Notes: Caring For Mothers: Sierra Leone (Part 3: The Development of Kissy United Methodist Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone)
- Jul 11th, 2011
In 1974, the Board of Global Ministries of the Swedish United Methodist Church assigned Ruth Lind, a nurse/midwife, to Freetown, Sierra Leone. She had already served 18 years in Zimbabwe. She began her health ministry in Freeport by working in a small house close to the Kissy United Methodist Church. In 1977, she returned home to Sweden to try to raise support for a clinic in Freetown. Amelia Ben Davies, a church member from Freetown, accompanied Lind to Sweden to tell the story of what life was like for women in Sierra Leone.
By 1978, they had enough funding to get started on a full clinic and Lind returned to Freeport. In addition, the Board of Global Ministries of the Swedish UMC assigned a missionary couple, Arne Hansen and Ulla-Britt Odhagen-Hansen (and their three children), to Freetown. Mr. Hansen constructed a new building with rooms for a clinic, a maternity ward, and a children’s ward. Mrs. Hansen planned the clinic’s health work; she was a nurse/midwife.
In 1981, Lind retired. She stayed long enough to see the dedication of the new clinic in Freetown, a celebration that included Sierra Leone’s president on the guest list. Kerstin Askevik, another nurse/midwife, took Lind’s place. In 1984, thanks to the support of the Swedish mission board, the clinic was again enlarged and named The Åke Larsson Ante Natal Clinic, after the late secretary of missions of the UMC in Sweden. By then, the number of children born in the Kissy Clinic was 600 a year, and the clinic treated 150–200 patients daily.
The last Swedish nurse-midwife to serve Kissy United Methodist Hospital was Marie Börjesson, 1985 to 1989. By then, most of the staff was from Sierra Leone and the hospital administrator was Regina L. Bangura. (I am indebted to Global Ministries’ board member Kristina Palmér of the Swedish UMC for this history, gleaned out of the UMC Sweden’s annual conference minutes, 1974-1990.)
By now you must know that this is not how the story ends. For the last installment of this story you will need to wait until my next blog.
Till next time...
Christie R. House
New World Outlook
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