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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Putting faces to the facts

Kijabe Hospital Paediatrics . . children come from nearby villages or from neighboring countries, some with major surgical problems that can not be treated very many other places south of Cairo or North of Johannesburg. Some come with the same issues that kill most children in the world: hunger, socially non-coping parents, exposure to lethal infections, poor quality water and food and education. And many come without the resources to pay for their care, even though that care is offered at about 1% of the cost of similar care in the States. Since this is a not-for-profit hospital belonging to the Africa Inland Church, we seek to help all of them, while still paying our Kenyan staff and maintaining a decent facility. Which is easier said than done. So some years ago other missionary physicians started a "Needy Children's Fund" to subsidize the care of select patients who were so poor they couldn't even afford the minimal fees charged by Kijabe. Here are a few of the kids we've helped with that fund this week. The first is a 16 month old girl with Kwashiorkor, peeking around her mom's shoulder as she rides on her back, similar to my patients in Bundibugyo. Malnutrition, a mom that weaned her too early and was unable to provide enough food, a father who seems to be at odds with the rest of the family. A treatable condition that is too often fatal. The second is a 10 year old boy who had been progressively more and more tired, unable to play and run like he used to, until in the last two weeks his whole body began to swell up. He was in heart failure, and we subsidized his referral to a cardiologist for an echo in Nairobi which confirmed that he was born with a major structural heart defect (common AV valve). The cardiologist helped us get him on a good combination of medicines, and he left feeling MUCH better. The third is a 3 year old who came in with a bad cough and was found to have TB, which lead to the diagnosis that she and her mom are both infected with the HIV virus. Now they are being treated for TB and AIDS, and what would have been a few months' decline until death can be redeemed into a decade or two (or more?) of life. All three of these children would have been dead within a few weeks or months without treatment. All three will have ongoing challenges, but left improved and hopeful. If you are interested in contributing to this fund, follow this link to: Kijabe Hospital Needy Children's Fund You will have to type "For Needy Children's Fund Kijabe Hospital 70351" in the comment box to be sure the money goes directly to help children like this. As you do to the least of these . . . I think Jesus thanks you.

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