News Release

Helping Premature Babies Survive in South Africa

“This is faith in action — and the most beautiful kind of example of faith in action that I can imagine,” Elder Christofferson says

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Kathy, visited Tambo Memorial Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday, May 27, 2024. During a meeting with hospital leadership, Elder Christofferson announced a significant donation to the hospital from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to address critical improvements and help the hospital staff provide optimal care.

Hospital staff gave Elder and Sister Christofferson a tour of the facility. This included visiting premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) who were in incubators previously donated by the Church.

“We’ve made a contribution in the past. We’ll make another major contribution now to help their work, and they received it with such gratitude,” said Elder Christofferson. “They’re very devoted people and do all they can with what they have. This is faith in action — and the most beautiful kind of example of faith in action that I can imagine.”

The Christoffersons were accompanied by Elder S. Mark Palmer of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Jacqueline, along with Elder Edward Dube, Africa South Area President, and his wife, Naume, and Elder Denelson Silva, Africa South Area Presidency, and his wife, Regina.

After spending time in the NICU and seeing babies — some weighing just over one pound — Elder Christofferson noted an extra sense that each of these infants are children of God.

“We felt as we visited the very tiny children and some of the older, pediatric care children, patients and mothers, that each life truly matters. Everyone is sacred. Each one is a child of God,” said Elder Christofferson. “There was, for me at least, a very deep feeling of how real that is when you see the life hanging in the balance and the tender child and the tender care given. It becomes more real, more evident.”

The Tambo Memorial Hospital was built almost 120 years ago. With the current demand for health care in the area, the hospital often meets or exceeds capacity. This prevents the medical staff from providing the best care.

“One death is too many. We don’t want any child dying. The donation makes us feel that we can do what we are supposed to do as doctors,” said Dr. Zukiswa Mjamekuana, a pediatrician at Tambo Memorial Hospital.

In 2021, the Church of Jesus Christ donated infusion pumps, respiratory devices, incubators and machines that help children battle respiratory illnesses — all of which helped the hospital decrease its infant mortality rate. This new donation builds on that momentum.

For Londiwe Buthelezi, manager of the hospital’s medical services, every child saved strengthens the community.

“The course of their lives is going to change forever,” she said. “We can rest assured that they will be impactful leaders, impactful adults and impactful members of society in the future. For us to have had a hand in doing that, and for the Church to have helped us see that, it is absolutely amazing.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.