I wrote recently about renovation work at the Protestant Hospital in Garoua Boulai (6-29-2013). Much of the work has been funded by World Hunger Fund of the ELCA, the South Dakota Synod of ELCA. First Lutheran Church in St. Ansgar, IA, and finally the hospital. Last week I had the privilege of touring the hospital with three partners visiting from the USA and Anne Langdji, regional representative of the ELCA. Leading the tour were Drs. Solofo and Joely Rakotoarivelo and various hospital workers.
The most visible change is outside. A new covered walkway was built. Here are the before and after pictures. Notice that there are now street lights that are hooked up to the city system. Many of the patient rooms were also redone; some are wards and some are private rooms.
The maternity ward was spruced up with tiles on the floor and paint. The picture at left shows Karen Alseth, representative of Cameroonian Healthcare Development Program (CHDP, based in Duluth, MN) and Jeremie Bouta Karariga, hospital intern. In another area of the hospital, one small room was removed so make a barely passible hallway into a beautiful waiting area for ultrasound, X-ray and other nearby offices. Pictured is Daniel Djilla, Surveillant Général.
Global Health Ministries (GHM) sends kits for families of babies born at the hospital; we visited a woman who had just had twins by Caesarian. She is 19; her older son is now 3 years old. Donna Wright and her husband Jacques Dupret, both members of an ELCA congregation in South Dakota, are giving this mother her kits. (The SD synod is partnered with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cameroon. Donna is also works for GHM.) In the background is the mother’s sister.
Dr. Solofo’s office was also redone. Now there is a patient exam room off his office (instead of taking up a part of the primary room). That means he can have some chairs as a waiting/welcome area. Here are before and after pictures. In the after picture, he is talking to Donna; Jacques is in the background wearing the outfit the hospital staff gave him as a gift.
Through out all the new work, a mural, painted by Jennifer Burnham in 1980 was saved. It is on the wall in an open area among rooms and departments. Also in that area is a live palm tree!
We saw lots of other areas as well including the relatively new generator funded by a church in the Sioux Falls, SD and Mt Calvary Lutheran Church in Eagan, MN, the hospital laundry service room, the medicine storage areas, the well-baby office, etc. Generous support from partners in the US have made it possible to have a lot of equipment that is so prevalent in US hospitals, but much more rare here. The picture at the right shows the reception. Notice the temperature/blood pressure machine between the two women. Pictured are Jeannette Houma, a patient, and Dr. Solofo.
Hospitals in Cameroon (CAR and other African countries) don’t provide food or sheets, but they do provide a large open building where people can cook. They also have an area where families can do dishes and laundry. This latter was just redone so that it is more sanitary and user-friendly. Counters at waist height are now around the edges. Also, a street light was installed so that people can work more easily once night falls (around 6:30 p.m.) Some new windows with screens were also installed. The window on the left is new and the one on the right is the old style that is being replaced.
We also saw the new VIP latrine! That is: Ventilated, Improved, Pit latrine. There was another nearby. Shortly before this one was built, the old one imploded! It sank like a sink hole. Fortunately, the only person who had been using it had just exited! This new one has two shower areas and 8 holes – 4 for women and 4 for men. It will not smell bad and will last more than 30 years. When funds are available, a second VIP latrine will be built at the other end of the hospital compound.
At the entrance to the hospital, local people, including youth, sell bananas, hard-boiled eggs, peanuts, and other foods
I don’t want to get sick, but if ever I need a hospital, this is where
I want to be!
I want to be!