Meet Beatrice, a precious baby girl who was born not only prematurely but also with a blocked intestine, a place where the gut had failed to form. She was transferred to Kijabe where she had emergency surgery, weeks of intravenous feeding, percolating in an incubator, fighting infection, on the verge of survival. At last she was strong enough to be fully corrected surgically and begin to breast feed. Last week she went home with a prognosis for a long and normal life. The odds of her survival in Kenya being born 2 months early would have been 1 in 4 most places. Add to that her surgical emergency, and it probably goes up to 1 in 100. So it was a day of rejoicing when she was ready for discharge. Her family was able to raise about $350, but her total bill was about $2,500. Even with a subsidy from the Bethany Kids surgical fund, she was still left with about $1000 unpaid. This is where the Kijabe Needy Children's Fund comes in.
This fund was established years ago as a way to sponsor care for children whose families would otherwise be unable to afford it, a way to keep Kijabe Hospital running when the excellent care provided would be otherwise uncompensated. We are a church hospital that has to pay the laboratory technicians, the round-the-clock expert nurses, the records clerks and kitchen cooks and maintenance personnel. We have to buy the expensive antibiotics, and generate the oxygen and electricity. Saving a baby like Beatrice costs money. It costs only a small fraction of what it would cost in many countries. About half our physician staff are missionaries, so all our supporters already subsidize this care by subtracting the need to pay us salaries. But paying the Kenyan staff and maintaining the enormous physical plant and providing the equipment and medicine takes funds.
Last year God provided $40,000 and we spent every penny helping over a hundred Needy kids. In 2014 already, the fund has received and disbursed over $4,000. It is exciting to see a family right here in Kenya hand me an envelope of cash that exactly covered the bill for a young twin with malnutrition and a severe injury, or a church from Tennessee write and send just the amount Beatrice needed. Our chaplains and finance office work with us to identify the patients who are truly in need. The money flows in and out in pretty divinely matched proportions. This is a picture of Mary, who has spent 33 days in the ICU. She has Guillan-Barre syndrome, a temporary paralysis that would result in death in most places in Kenya. But if we can support her breathing for a month or two, she should fully recover. She got a tracheostomy two weeks into her course, and just yesterday she came off the ventilator to breathe on her own for the first time in a month. She's starting to wiggle her shoulders a bit more. She still has weeks to go before she can leave, and months before she can walk and run and play. All that care will bring a hefty bill that her mother will need help to pay.
Thanks to brilliant Ann Mara, the fund is now much easier to donate to. There is a paypal account associated with the hospital, and the money (after a very small admin fee of 3% or less is subtracted) comes directly to the account. Then we paediatricians with the chaplains and finance office decide which patients need it the most, and it is transferred directly to cover their bills. If you or your group want to raise money for kids in need of medical care, here is the link for sending it:
It is the second project on the list, code NCF-1. (Meanwhile take a look around our Kijabe Hopsital website which Ann also worked hard to create!)
God promises to bless those who care for the widow and the orphan. This is something close to His heart. And I thank those that support us personally and the other doctors here, which is equally important in providing this low-cost and effective care. We depend upon you, and are grateful.