Friday, July 10, 2015

I'M BA-ACK!!!!

Ok, so here is why 2015 has not been a good year, or even a bad year...but more of a disaster when it comes to me keeping up with my blog.  The first thing is the terrible internet.  It seems to continue to get worse and worse each month.  How I long for the good ole' days of dial-up!  Yeah you heard (or read) me right.  I think dial-up would be more reliable and less irritating that what I am getting here in Chimala.  If we want to keep up with the world, we have to travel an hour to the east or an hour and a half to the west.  BUT, I have decided that I will get you caught up and do my best to continue sending you information.  I do not believe I will be able to send as many pictures as I used to...but will promise to send some.  I continue to request high-speed internet every time I speak to any government official or anyone who wants the hospital to send documents via e-mail.  There are times, we try over, & over, & over & over and still it may take two-three days before the documents actually get sent.

The second problem I have had is....I just haven't been able to find the time.  In brief review, last year in March/April our accountant walked out without any notice leaving me to fill that position.  We did hire a great new accountant in May, but it took several months to get him up to speed on all the records.  Then in September, the CEO of the hospital retired leaving me to assist in covering that position.  We just hired a wonderful young man to fill this role in May of this year!  He is learning quickly, but also has much more to learn.  We also entered into a partnership with Walter Reed - Tanzania in order to provide better and more services to our HIV patients.  As you probably remember me saying before, we have many HIV patients. Our current registration is over 5,000.  This partnership provides us with many resources we desperately need, but as it is an American funded program there are many reports and documents which have to be written and provided throughout the year.  This has added MUCH to my work-load.

The first 6 months of 2015 have seen some continued improvements.  Our staff have truly begun to come together as a working team.  Now I don't mean to imply that every one is on board...but the majority of the staff are coming together, working for a common goal.  Better patient care, better work environment equal better outcomes for all.  We have placed some different people in some of the leadership roles and have found most of them truly taking on that position with great success.  As I mentioned above, we have added a new young man, Jacob, as our head accountant and another, Shadrack, as our "Health Secretary".  This position is in place of the previous CEO position.  Our hospital now operates with a management team as it's leadership instead of one person.  The team consists of the Health Secretary, Doctor in-charge, Accountant, Matron (Nursing Manager) and myself.  We have found this team-approach to be very effective and welcome by the staff.

We have remodeled the laboratory with donations from many of you and some assistance from our Walter Reed - TZ partners.  We have now decided to add tile flooring to finish it off nicely as well as some proper rolling stools for the staff to work from.  We now believe with our better physical facilities, we will be able to obtain some assistance in obtaining the addition laboratory equipment which we are in desperate need of. For example, chemistry and hematology machines.  We have also updated and remodeled our CTC department which is the area treating our HIV and TB clients.  This area is now more structured which increases efficiency and it has been painted which provides a more welcoming area for our clients.  We have purchased a new cautery machine for our surgical services as the one we obtained in the 90's from a donor in the states finally died.  Our goal is to add a new surgical sterilization machine, solar powered generator system and remodel our x-ray department before the end of this year.  Whew, I tired just thinking about all this work ahead!  However, it also excites me to see this hospital upgrade from the horrible conditions it was in just 3 years ago. 

May and June, we were busy with our normal work and hosting visitors from Harding Universities Nursing Program.  It is always a pleasure having visiting students come and learn just how blessed they are with the things they have for healthcare and to learn how the medical staff in this country work with so little.  It becomes a learning experience for all involved.

We also had several interesting patients in the last few months.  The first one which comes to mind is the man who came in with a hippo bite to his bottom!  Yes, a hippopotamus bite!  He said he went outside his house and there was a big hippo.  He turned around to run back inside, but the hippo took a little fresh meat from the man's bottom before he was able to make his retreat.  I never though to ask him how long he had to wait for the hippo to leave before he could come back out of his house and seek help.  Bet that's not a situation any of you have seen in the ER lately?.....or ever?......

Another situation we had that same day was involving an albino child, his mother and uncle.  Many in this country continue to believe in witchcraft and juju.  Albino children are believed to hold special powers.  The mother of this small child was brought into the hospital with defensive wounds to her head, arms and hands she received while defending her child against a would-be kidnapper.  The uncle was the thwarted kidnapper.  The uncle wanted to kidnap and skin the albino child to use in witchcraft and juju.  The situation was very sad and emotional for all who were involved.  Thank the Lord, the child was not injured.  I do not know the numbers, but there are stories in the newspapers here several times a week concerning albino children who are kidnapped and murdered for body parts.  I have a few albino children in my mobile clinics, but see them only on occasion as the families keep them close by and well guarded.  I do take medical needs to them such as sunscreen, sunglasses and hats.

The mobile clinics are going well.  As you may have read in one of the newsletter articles I wrote, we have now started a new congregation at the first mobile clinic we started.  This is a direct result of the clinic and outreach services provided to the clinic clients.  Several people have also either re-dedicated themselves to Christ or have been baptized in different clinic areas as well.  I am praying to begin another 1 -2 clinics in the next 10-12 months.

I continue to pray for guidance, wisdom and strength from our Lord for this work and I also pray for your financial support.  Without financial support, we would not be able to reach people for God's kingdom.  Hopefully, I will be able to communicate better in the future, thereby letting you know what is being done in the Chimala area to strengthen and grow the Kingdom of the Lord.  May God bless our efforts.

More to come...........