It is with immense joy that I report the 1st successful surgery on June 28, 2017 at N'garenairobi Health Centre. Lightness Joseph, a 3-year-old from Tingatinga had her appendix removed and an umbilical hernia repaired. The surgeon, Dr. Avelina, traveled from another region of Tanzania and was assisted by our resident doctor, Sr. Ernesta Ngowi. This surgery was the culmination of 10 years of prayers, hard work and fundraising. It is a time to celebrate our successes, but God's good work must continue.
It is our great pleasure to introduce our resident surgeon at N'garenairobi Health Clinic. As of April 2018, Tanzania whose population is 50 million has only 350 surgeons. We consider it nothing short of a miracle that Fr. Calistus Kirongozi, Regional Superior of the ALCP was able to hire Dr. Robert as the full-time resident surgeon. The surgeon will be paid $536/month, $6,432/year. We are blessed to have Dr. Robert in the operating room at N'gare.
Our longer-term project is to add a surgical wing to the hospital which currently has a male and female ward. It is not advisable to have surgical and medical patients in the same ward due to increased risks of infection. Surgical patients should have a "clean" ward which currently has a projected cost of $32,000.
My heartfelt thanks to all our supporters who have helped us come this far with prayers and patience. Any donation will help us continue God's great work!
In many areas of the world needing a surgery, as basic as an appendectomy, is a death sentence. 17 million people worldwide die each year because they do not have access to surgical care.
Last year we were blessed to begin surgery at N'garenairobi Health Centre and secure a contract with a full time surgeon. Our first order of business which has been completed was the purchase and installation of a back-up diesel generator. This was needed because the electrical grid in East Africa is quite unreliable.
As word reaches the rural areas, people are traveling great distances many times walking 2-3 days to reach the clinic. Once their surgery is complete, they must recover sufficiently before they make the journey home.
Fr. Calistus Kirongozi, Regional Superior of the ALCP, and Dr. John Robert, resident surgeon, have requested we help raise the funds for the addition of male and female surgical wards. The risk to patients of developing a post operative infection is decreased when surgical patients have separate wards.
The cost of adding these surgical wards to the existing clinic is $32,000. We are making a real difference and saving lives in Tanzania. Please consider a donation to this worth wild cause.
I awake to the low murmur of voices; the sisters are in the chapel for Morning Prayer. The sun is not yet peeking above the horizon. This day begins the way it ended last night, with prayer in the chapel. The morning is chilly and I think to myself that I should pray more, take my example from the Sisters. No time to ponder that question, however. I arise to prepare for 7a.m. Mass and before Mass there will be a rosary.
During breakfast, Sister Daria returns from night duty at the clinic. She gives Sister Ernesta, one of the two doctors at the clinic, a report on the patients and any new arrivals. Sister Daria delivered a baby girl during the night with no complications. Mother and baby are doing fine and will be discharged later today. One of the little girls from the village, who is asthmatic, came in during the night with difficulty breathing. Otherwise it was a quiet night and Sister Daria was able to get some rest which is fortunate because she will return to the clinic for a full day of work. There will be no rest today as it is market day in the village and people will come from many miles bringing their sick children and
injured family members. Also, it is the day for well babies to come in for check-ups and inoculations. Within a few hours, we will have 50-100 mothers and babies waiting to be seen.
By the time we arrive at the clinic, there are six out patients waiting on the bench to be treated. Sister/Doctor Ernesta evaluates the patients, orders lab tests, reviews the results, and prescribes the appropriate treatment. In another part of the clinic, Sisters Daria and Coletta are handling the well baby clinic. It is a beehive of activity. Lunch is a brief affair and the afternoon progresses much as the morning did. By 5 p.m. the steady stream of patients has been seen, Sister Ernesta checks on the inpatients, updates their plan of care, and heads to the convent to oversee preparation of dinner. As we are eating our evening meal and discussing the day, Sister Coletta comes into the dining room. It is her turn to take night duty. She has eaten earlier. After dinner I join the Sisters in chapel for evening prayers. I notice that Sister Daria, who has been awake for almost 24 hours, struggles to stay awake through prayers; her exhaustion is evident. After prayers, we return to our quarters for some much deserved rest and ready ourselves for another busy day at N'garenairobi Health Centre.
The people sit patiently waiting their turn to be seen by the clinic staff. The boy was at least four years old, so it seemed strange that his mother was cradling him like a baby. At first glance it appeared he was asleep, but something more was wrong. The sisters were called at once; the boy was unconscious and extremely ill. The mother had taken him to the government clinic a few days ago after he had a seizure. They were sent home with some medicine which had no effect. At this point, she was unable to wake him.
The staff is very concerned, he is admitted to the hospital ward, an IV is started and testing is done. It is determined this child is suffering from an extreme case of Malaria. The seizures are a result of the high fevers. The malaria medications are started but it may be too late. Malaria is one of the leading causes of death for children under five in Tanzania.
Word of the critically ill child reaches Fr. Priscus at the rectory. He will anoint the child, if the family is Catholic. It has been Father’s experience that many patients rally after they have been anointed. Sr. Daria asks the mother if they are Catholic, she says no they are Muslim.
Sr. Daria lets her know that everyone is praying for the recovery of her son. It was a few days of not knowing but all thanked God that the child recovered. The mother asked that everyone know the family’s deep appreciation of the prayers. If we want the world to know peace, we must strive to see Jesus in every person and love them.