The needs are so great

I've always dreamed of being a midwife in Africa.  I realized that since I pass out when my dog gets her vaccinations that it may just not be my God given calling but that doesn't stop me from being passionate about mothers and their babies.

Today I had the opportunity of observing an overworked nurse {she had at least 50 patients lined up before 9 am and before we left at least 25 more had arrived} while she did intake of patients.  There were only a few men, most were women having walked upwards of four hours to come to the clinic to be seen.

She saw a mother with a baby on her hip in for her STI {sexually transmitted infection} injection, a grandmother bringing in her five year old grandson for treatment of chicken pox, and a four month old with malaria. 

Bertha Himaanga, 28, was the only nurse we saw on site.  She worked quickly and listened well seeing patient after patient in the clinic.  One patient would walk out the door, and another would walk in.  

I walked out to speak to the mothers that were waiting and when I returned I saw Bertha speaking with a 30 year old HIV positive mother of four with a 15 month old baby in a sling. I didn't speak the same language, but I could tell that Bertha was very upset with the mother for not bringing her baby into the clinic.  Bertha asked several times, why did you not come sooner? This child was 15 months old and from an untrained eye I could see that this child was suffering from malnutrition.  Kiston weighed only 11 pounds.  A typical toddler his age usually weighs twice that!

I was drawn to little Kiston Hadanji.  His mother made several excuses for not bringing her son into the clinic sooner, but with some more questioning, it was found that the mother has four children at home and her husband is no longer around.  She is doing it all on her own and just hasn't had the time to come to the clinic.

Her last visit to the clinic was in January when her child was tested for HIV.  The test results have still not come in since they need to be sent out to Lusaka several hours away. Getting important test results takes a lot of time in rural Zambia in the small rural town of Moyo.  Though physical examination confirmed that this baby is more than likely HIV positive just like his mother.

Something else that is difficult to get in Moyo is health care.  The village has a very busy clinic that is not easily accessible to most of the members in the community.  Kiston's mother was instructed to gather some money and take him to Choma an hour drive away and be admitted to the hospital. I could see in this mother's eyes how difficult it would be for her to find the 50 kwacha {about $7 USD} for the round trip car fare to get her child the treatment that he needed. Where would this single mother of four find the money?

World Vision has been participating in this community for six years.  The need is great and when speaking with the director of the ADP {area development project} it seems overwhelming to meet all of those needs.  Where do you even begin? 

The roads have been inadequate and too narrow to even bring a drilling truck in to bring clean water. The community and government have been working to fix that so that World Vision can make good on their promise to bring water into the community.  Once members of the community have clean water, it is the hope that the lines at the clinic will shorten.  Every day the clinic sees cases of diarrhea and urinary tract infections.  Twenty three boreholes are slated to be drilled this year in Moyo.

The new Moyo hospital just steps away from the old health clinic

In partnership with World Vision, the first rural hospital is being built in Moyo.  We were able to visit the facility that will have running water through a mechanized pump system and electricity from solar panels.  It's a far cry from how they are currently operating. Bertha says babies at night are being delivered with just two small solar panel lamps that provide inadequate light and a laboring mother is told to bring a bucket of water in with her when she comes to deliver.  The hospital will have it's own lab so that test results for things like HIV can be done that day and the results won't take months to receive.

The facility will also help patients like Kiston whose mother will be able to receive treatment without going into the city.  I know children like Kiston and adults are being turned away from treatment every day because the facility is just not able to handle the cases that it is seeing.  I can't rush the process, and I know that there have been lives lost because of the inability to get the funds together to get into the city to proper medical care.

For now, I didn't hesitate to ask the World Vision staff if I could privately gift this mother the 50 kwacha to get her and her baby into the city for treatment.  I am hopeful that Kiston will receive the treatment that he needs in Choma and that with the help of World Vision this mother will receive the training on proper nutrition that she is lacking.  

All of this is being done in the community because of the child sponsorship program.  Sponsoring a child is more than just giving money to one child, it's giving money to the community.  For only $35 a month, you can change a child's life forever. 

Please consider child sponsorship. The needs are so great and with your help, those needs can be met.

To find a child that is available for sponsorship, visit here. Click to learn more about the water effect and how World Vision is meeting that need in some of the most desperate areas.

A collection of stories from my week in Zambia
Rainbows and Water
A Child's Life
Looking Forward to the Future
The Needs are so Great
Welcome Home
Spirit Lead Me Where My Trust is Without Borders
Preparing for Zambia

1 comment

Randi Jo :) said...

praying for you !! and this mom and family. Thank you for sharing. this is so touching.

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