Where is Renee Bach Now? A Story of White Saviorism and Medical Malpractice in Africa

Renee Bach, an American missionary, ventured to Uganda in 2009 and established the charity Serving His Children (SHC), with the noble aim of assisting malnourished children. However, her journey soon took a contentious turn as allegations surfaced of her practicing medicine without a license and being connected to the deaths of over 100 children.

The Controversy

Despite having no medical qualifications, Bach allegedly performed medical procedures on children at the SHC facility in Jinja, including blood transfusions, intravenous injections, and administering oxygen. She was also accused of diverting parents away from better-equipped hospitals by presenting herself as a doctor.

Tragically, many of the children treated at SHC did not survive, leading some families to file lawsuits against Bach for negligence and fraud. In 2019, two mothers filed a civil lawsuit claiming their children’s deaths were a result of Bach’s actions. The lawsuit was settled in 2020, with each mother receiving approximately $9,500, although SHC did not admit to any wrongdoing.

Bach staunchly denied many of the allegations, insisting she never posed as a doctor and only assisted with basic tasks like feeding and weighing the children. She asserted that she worked alongside qualified medical professionals and followed their guidance.

The Investigation

Subsequent to the initial lawsuit, the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council conducted an independent inquiry into SHC’s activities. They discovered that the center was not registered as a health facility and Bach was not authorized to practice medicine in Uganda. Some medical records at SHC were also found to be incomplete or missing.

However, the investigation did not find conclusive evidence that Bach personally treated children or that a significant number of children died due to SHC’s services. There were also no complaints from parents or guardians of the treated children. Consequently, no criminal charges were filed against Bach or SHC.

The Documentary

Bach’s story attracted international attention and was featured in various media outlets, including NPR, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and ABC News. An HBO documentary series titled “Savior Complex” premiered in September 2023, exploring the concept of white saviorism in Africa, with Bach’s case as a focal point.

The documentary follows Bach and other American missionaries who initiated charitable projects in Uganda with limited oversight or accountability. It features interviews with critics and victims of these projects who accuse them of taking advantage of the poverty and vulnerability of local populations.

Reactions to the documentary have been mixed, with some applauding it for shedding light on the challenges of humanitarian aid, while others criticized it for alleged bias and sensationalism. Questions have also arisen regarding the filmmakers’ ethics and their purported payments to sources for their testimonies.

The Current Situation

Bach returned to her hometown of Bedford, Virginia, in 2019, where she now resides with her two daughters, Zuriah and Selah. Selah was adopted from Uganda after being brought to SHC for treatment. Since her return, Bach has refrained from commenting publicly on the documentary or the investigation, but she maintains her innocence and unwavering faith in God. She expresses gratitude to her supporters and donors who continue to fund her charity, despite the controversy.

SHC continues to operate in Uganda under new leadership, focusing on community-based efforts for malnutrition prevention and treatment. The organization has registered as a health facility and enlisted qualified medical personnel to oversee its operations.

Conclusion

Renee Bach’s journey in Uganda is marked by controversy, with allegations of harm caused to numerous children through her charity, Serving His Children. Legal actions have been taken against her, although an independent investigation cleared her of criminal charges. Her story has been the subject of a documentary exploring white saviorism in Africa, garnering both praise and criticism. Currently residing in Virginia with her daughters, Bach continues to maintain her innocence and her charity has undergone significant changes in its approach and operations in Uganda.

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