Twice a year we have an orientation for our new arrivals. The fall orientation we do in the capital city and the spring orientation we do in one of the towns more in the central part of the country. This year we did it in the town where our mission hospital is located.
The hospital started in the 1950's and the original buildings are in really bad shape. A picture in the hospital director's office shows the hospital as it was in the early '50's....three buildings surrounded by rock with not a tree in sight. The original buildings were built from the rock dug out of the ground. Today those buildings are structurally unsound. So, one by one they are being torn down and new ones are being built. Here you see a progression of the building project....one of the old original buildings, another building being torn down to make room for new buildings, and the inside of one of the new buildings.
I do NOT enjoy visiting hospitals. Period. And especially not here where the situations are almost always extreme and the smells are unpleasant to say the least. (Don't ask me why I like House. I have no idea!) The day we visited we went in the afternoon, so things were fairly quiet. Most of the sick people come first thing in the morning. This room was a group of moms in the well-baby clinic waiting for injections for their babies. Right now the babies all look happy, but wait 'til the first one starts screaming. (My kids got more than one shot in this very room! It was a yearly event during our spiritual life conference.)
We also saw people in an infectious disease ward (things like measles, typhoid, meningitis). This picture shows the "normal" sick ward. This particular day there were only a few people down at the end of the ward. But they said during malaria season every bed was full, some with more than one patient. Patients were on the floor, some were in make-shift quarters outside, and some were in the hall. You also need to know that each patient has a family member with them to take care of their sick loved one. If the person caring for them is a woman, she probably has a baby on her back as well. So you can just imagine what this room was like during malaria season!
We also saw the maternity ward. The sad thing about being in a ward like this is that the moms who have lost babies are in the same ward as the moms who have healthy babies. It must be awful to lie in your bed recovering from a Cesarean where your baby was delivered dead when the woman next to you is nursing her baby.
From there we went towards the operating block. Just as we were standing there, a nurse came out holding a baby that had just been delivered by Cesarean. She held him up and was telling us to take a picture. We were getting ready to (I think my friend did) when she said, "Unfortunately he died." We were more than just a little shocked!
Another place we visited was the pharmacy. Most of their medicines are purchased at cost or donated since the hospital is a non-profit. They make many of their own IV solutions as well.
We also got to see the physical therapy gym where people with burns, broken bones, and recovering from surgery go for therapy. Many of the patients are children who have had club foot. Aren't these little walkers cute?
I'll tell you what, my hat really goes off to everybody who works at this hospital. The doctors and other personnel who work there see extreme cases every day and deal with frequent deaths. It's especially depressing when the death could have been prevented. It's in a rural area and people don't have good means of transportation to get there so by the time they arrive, they are really sick or have been in labor for days. Others try traditional treatments and then come to the hospital as a last resort. Others just don't come because the thought is perpetuated that the hospital is where you go to die. So if they go, it's as if they've admitted they're going to die. Of course, by the time they get there, that's what often happens and the belief continues on.
The hospital has a really good reputation in the country for the quality care we provide. Best of all, it is done with love and in the name of Jesus. As patients wait, they watch the Jesus video or listen to preaching.
For sure, I admire all those who work there!