What Would a Parent Do for their Child?

Healthcare for children in Malawi

Jack Kirby was inspired to write the Incredible Hulk by seeing a mother lift a car to save her baby. The writer said in an interview, “It suddenly came to me that in desperation we can all do that — we can knock down walls.”

While Jack made his powerful Hulk character predictably male, his inspiration was feminine. He was inspired by a mother. A mother who, through a combination of love and adrenaline, achieved superhuman strength. 

In February, 2021, in Malawi, fate called upon Chrissy Banda’s superhuman strength. Chrissy noticed a small growth in her baby’s armpit. In just a week, that growth spread to the child’s waist, back, and neck. Chrissy and her husband, Emmanuel Chirwa, thought about taking their child to a government hospital. It was 13 kilometers away from their village. A 4 hour walk.

Chrissy and Emmanuel sold chickens and a pig, their most valued assets, to pay for transportation and hospital bills. Their 4 month old, Jacqueline, was prescribed medicine. She took it for 7 days, but her situation worsened. Her parents tried a private clinic instead. Still, it was futile.

“Rumors started circulating in my community that my daughter was bewitched,” Emmanuel says. And so they took Jacqueline to a traditional doctor. It did nothing to help.

Finally, Chrissy and Emmanuel caught word that Orant’s Mobile Outreach Clinic would come to their community. In a last-hope effort, they took Jacqueline to the clinic. Orant’s clinicians diagnosed Jacqueline with critical abscesses. The abscesses could damage her organs, including her brain and lungs. Orant’s clinicians gave Jacqueline injections. They referred her immediately to Kasungu District Hospital. They offered an ambulance ride. At the hospital, Jacqueline went through a major surgery. 

“I was so close to losing my child,” Chrissy says. “For only 200 kwachas”, 25 cents in US dollars, “Orant gave us medication and transportation to a hospital. I am so thankful.” 

There are many children like Jacqueline in off-the-grid communities who have critical illnesses and need prompt treatment. In Malawi, 41 children under 5 die per 1,000 births, according to UNICEF. Whereas in the US, only 6.5 die per 1,000 births. 

Most parents would do almost anything to save their child. This is why Orant launched its Mobile Outreach Clinic: to reach families that can’t reach healthcare on their own. 

The Orant Journal