‘The womb that bore you.’
While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!"
- Luke 11:27-28, from full reading Luke 11: 24-28.
Christian Aid Week this year will focus our minds on mothers and maternal health issues in Sierra Leone, which is the most dangerous place in the world to become a mum – today 10 women will die in childbirth
Scarred by a long and bloody civil war (1991-2002), and the worst Ebola outbreak in history (2014-2016), Sierra Leoneans are now battling to rebuild healthcare. Ten per cent of healthcare workers were killed by Ebola.
But why is it that, in the global North, the chances of dying in childbirth are so much lower than in Sierra Leone? Our faith calls us to expose and challenge the injustice we find. As Desmond Tutu said:
‘There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.’
Sierra Leone lacks the funds to provide basic services like adequate health clinics, proper health training or enough ambulances to transport people to far-away hospitals.
A lack of funding for such services is a complex matter, but Sierra Leone has been hit particularly hard following the Ebola crisis in 2014-2016, when the government of Sierra Leone was given loans to help cope with the crisis, that it is now expected to pay back.
Read one of the stories from Sierra Leone on Christian Aid’s website and learn more about our work there. Pray for Christian Aid week 2019 – and for the success of the campaign action to cancel the Ebola debts which Sierra Leone incurred so that the money being spent on debt repayments can be invested in improving healthcare across the country.
God, we thank you for Christian Aid Week – for the thousands of churches across these islands who take part in collections and activities, to raise awareness and understanding of the issues and root causes of poverty.
Bless the work of Christian Aid partners in Sierra Leone, building new clinics and training healthcare workers. Help us to be obedient to your word and to put our faith in action as we call for the cancellation of debt in Sierra Leone. Embrace all those who were affected by the Ebola crisis and shelter them in your love.
Today’s contributor is Anna Jane Evans, the North Wales Regional Co-ordinator for Christian Aid. She is also a voluntary minister with the Presbyterian Church of Wales with pastoral care for a church in Penmaenmawr.
Published on 16 February 2019