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House Notes: Caring For Mothers: Sierra Leone (Part 3: The Development of Kissy United Methodist Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone)

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

Editor

New World Outlook

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Comments

  1. Wilson Nyabuto says:
    Dear brothers and sisters, kindly receives my gratitude especially on the wonderful word of Christ you are doing.I was blessed to learn on your teachings on the website. please pray for us,as we take cares of orphans in our church.We assist them with clothes food and shelter where necessary but now they are lacking school fees as we have hard times now since we are running shortage of capital. this is a burdensome responsibility passed to us as a church after a deadly toll of HIV/AIDS.we would like your ministry to cover us and teach us in grounding this young people in truth. i would be happy to hear from you soon Brother in Christ,Wilson Nyabuto Pastor Omokubo Community Fellowship church Box 1178 Kisii code 40200
    Jan 3rd, 2012
  2. Kerstin Askevik Karlsson says:
    Here I am finding my name on this blog. Many memories from that time is coming up. Happy as well as sad. It´s great that the clinic in Kissy is blooming after all difficulties and is a blessing to many people. I loved my work and the people in SL. So many situations that are printed in my mind, I do still talk krio to myself. Once in a while I meet people from west Africa since I work with people looking for asylum in Sweden doing health check ups. It has past 30 years since I first landed at Lungi airport, my suitcases where lost and I had to borrow clothes from Ms Lind. I ended up being there for four years. S'alone is always in my heart Greetings from Sweden/ Kerstin I will be following this blog.... S'alone is always in my heart
    Oct 8th, 2011

Christie House

Christie House is the editor of New World Outlook, the mission magazine of The United Methodist Church, and an active member of St. Paul and St. Andrew UMC in Manhattan.

About This Blog

Read and comment on a range of personal reflections and perspectives about poverty and Ministry with the Poor. Our goal is to attract diverse voices and points of view from United Methodists and friends, including people and communities living in conditions of poverty, other experts, religious leaders, community organizers, advocates, policy makers, volunteers, and all engaged in Ministry with the Poor.