Renee Bach, social activist and founder of the NGO “Serving His Children,” is the highlight of the three-part documentary series Savior Complex. This HBO documentary follows the troubled journey of “Serving His Children” from its rise to its eventual downfall, which led to the deaths of 105 children. Renee Bach’s intention was to focus on rescuing the children’s lives, but this ended up being a complicated matter, forcing the families of the dead children to sue her.
Who Was Renee Bach?
Hailing from Virginia and having an evangelical background, Renee had immense faith in God. She was an American missionary who believed there was always a divine power that existed that went beyond medicines. Although she had a mentality that she’d be able to save people in need, her techniques were flawed. Homeschooled Renee had never received any kind of medical training or a specialized degree, but having faith in God, she kind of developed a God complex within herself. Seemingly, she started believing herself to be a divine angel who could save the children in need like nobody else.
In 2009, a young Renee went on a trip to Uganda and felt attached to the atmosphere there. She connected with the plight of the poor Ugandan mothers who were losing their children to malnutrition. Renee felt her arrival in Uganda was actually part of God’s plan. So in order to help the children suffering from malnutrition and several other pediatric diseases, she raised a fund from the local churches and rented a place to form the base of her organization. She named it “Serving His Children” and started performing healthcare facilities there. She hired some of the Ugandan nurses and doctors and even welcomed some of the volunteers.
One of those volunteers, a trained nurse, Jackie Kramlich, and her husband truly cared about providing quality treatment to the children. However, after Jackie Kramlich started volunteering at Serving His Children, she noticed some of the unethical practices that Renee was carrying out. Firstly, she noticed Renee was taking care of the malnourished babies all by herself in the absence of a nurse or doctor. It was a severe medicolegal issue to intervene in a medical procedure without having a proper medical background. So Jackie wanted to address it by talking to Renee about it. As Jackie tried to point out the wrong methods of treatment she was employing, Renee didn’t listen to her. Jackie talked about this with a bunch of other activists, and the news finally reached another foundation called “No White Saviors.”
As more and more people learned about Renee’s unethical medical practices at SHC, the problem began to escalate. After finally gathering some of the mothers who lost their children under the care of SHC, a lawsuit was filed against Renee. It came out that she didn’t even have a health license to continue medical services at her NGO. Consequently, Renee had to leave Uganda to settle down in Virginia again, along with her mother and two adopted daughters.
Renee adopted them while working at SHC and ensured she could provide the best upbringing for them, but her reputation was already injured due to the lawsuit filed against her. She didn’t want her name to be associated with murder, as she believed she never did anything wrong that could take any child’s life; therefore, efforts to clear her name began to take place. According to her, she had always participated in medical procedures only when trained nurses and doctors were around, but the enraged mothers who claimed to have seen her in a medical outfit with a stethoscope wanted her to be held responsible for her actions. Eventually, Renee Bach decided to settle the matter, offering compensation of $9500 to each of the mothers who lost their child. An independent investigation was subsequently conducted by Ugandan medical professionals, but they couldn’t find any evidence that directly linked Renee’s involvement in those children’s deaths. Neither Renee nor SHC were charged with the murder of 105 children.
Where Is Renee Bach Now?
Renee Bach was not really an evil person, nor was she exactly a murderer. She was simply a fanatic with blind faith in God. After coming to Uganda with her family on a missionary trip, she felt she was the most qualified to treat children’s diseases and thought God had called her to Uganda for that holy purpose. Her intentions might have been pure, and maybe she really wanted to help those Ugandan children, but at the same time, her ego prevented her from listening to others’ perspectives. She wanted to give the children proper treatment, but she did not feel the need to hire a trained doctor from America so that these Ugandan doctors and nurses could get proper direction on how to treat these children.
Instead, Renee, having a severe “white savior complex,” intervened personally, which caused a lot of damage. Maybe she didn’t intentionally harm anyone, but her recklessness was the biggest mistake of her life. Relocating from Virginia to an impoverished area of Uganda and running an NGO, she enjoyed a sense of power and authority. She took full advantage of that power and did not even try to consult anyone, not even those who wanted to volunteer for the organization. She was paying the nurses well, so none of them had the courage to go against her or convince her that her methods were wrong.
We see that both Renee and her mother, Laurie, emphasized the fact that the mortality rate at SHC was only 11%, but they never admitted that they were running an unethical practice, serving these children without a proper medical degree or health license. It still bothered Jackie Kramlich that Renee never held herself responsible for the unethical medical practices she did. Currently, we don’t know exactly what Renee Bach is up to, but as shown in the documentary series, she now lives in Virginia with her two daughters. She is now focused on raising her daughters and providing the best care and education for them, leaving behind all the baggage of the past in Uganda.