By Missioner and Occupational Therapist Karen Roeming. Karen was a member of the July 2018 mission team and coached Mercy nurse James how to mold thermoplastic splints for Abubakkar.
Abubakkar is standing taller!
Abubakkar continues to progress and he is standing straighter and taller. He is even gaining some weight. As you might remember, Abubakkar was burned over two thirds of his body in December, 2016. He was brought to Mercy Hospital in March, 2017 where he continues to receive care. After being enrolled in the Child Rescue Centre, Abubakkar and his brothers were all able to return to school in September, 2017. Abubakkar passed his class five tests in June, 2018 and promoted to class six.
Abubakkar has been living at home with his family but still comes to Mercy every other day before or after school for wound care and dressing changes. The wounds on the backs of his legs are healing nicely requiring less care. As his wounds heal, the normal skin is replaced with scar tissue that will continue to shorten and contract limiting the ability to straighten his knees and put his heals down on the ground. This scar is less amenable to stretch as he grows compared to his normal skin.
Abubakkar’s goal is to be able to run and play football again. To help stretch that scar and allow Abubakkar to stand taller, his nurse, James, used a sheet of low temperature thermoplastic material softened in heated water to mold directly to his legs. The plastic cools and holds its shape so Abubakkar can be gently stretching his knees and scars while he is sleeping. This is not the most comfortable way to sleep but Abubakkar is standing taller and having fun playing with his friends during the day.
The Child Rescue Centre has expanded its vision to serve children and families who live in the villages of Pujehun and Manguama.
Last month, children from these two villages were enrolled in the Child Support Program so they can begin receiving support for their education. Both underdeveloped and politically marginalized, these small villages suffer from extreme poverty, lack of services and inaccessibility.
Manguama is one of the villages served by Mercy Hospital outreach.
CRC Director Mohamed Nabieu spoke to the new vision to expand to the villages. “We are not only to focus on our comfortable zones, but if we want to make meaningful impact, we have to be ready to reach out to the unreached, speak out for the voiceless and help the underprivileged,” he said.
Over several days in September the CRC team visited the newly established operational areas to distribute school supplies. “The children are all set and ready for the new school year,” CRC Case Manager Victor Kanu reported. The CRC staff counseled the parents to support their children’s education by encouraging them to study and take good care of their school supplies.
If you would like to sponsor one of the children from the new village initiative, please click on the link below.
Five-year-old Jerome was desperately sick when his mother brought him to Mercy suffering from a range of symptoms including severe anemia, high fever, vomiting and coughing. The Mercy staff diagnosed Jerome with malaria and an acute respiratory infection and he was admitted for treatment. After three days of intensive care and a blood transfusion for anemia, Jerome was stable enough to go home.
His mother was so happy to learn that the treatment was entirely free, as the family had no money to pay, and effusively thanked the staff for their kindness and compassion. “I am very grateful for the services given to my son. I want to thank the CHO and nurses that helped him when he was sick.”
65-year old Mamie Moijuel was coughing up blood when her family brought her to Mercy for treatment. Mamie was diagnosed with tuberculoid leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by bacteria that is endemic in poor rural areas of Africa. Tuberculoid leprosy is a mild, less severe and less contagious form of leprosy acquired through close contact.
Mamie was put on a regimen of strong antibiotics to treat her illness. The antibiotic treatment took several months, but she now tests negative for TB and her condition has improved markedly. Mamie says, “I thank God for the Mercy staff. They know how to talk to patients nicely and to make you feel better even when you are very sick. They are helping people a lot."
Mercy Hospital recently celebrated the birth of identical twin girls. The twins' mom, Katiatu Turay, was a regular in the prenatal program and gave birth to her last child at Mercy as well. In fact, these girls are her 8th and 9th children!
Katiatu was grateful to the Mercy staff for assisting a safe delivery. Giving birth to twins can be challenging, but thanks to the Mercy maternity department, both mother and babies are happy and healthy. Katiatu and her visiting family members gave thanks to God and the Mercy team for their new additions.
Theresa Pillar is a 35-year-old blind woman who came to Mercy because she was having difficulty breastfeeding. She and her husband, who is also blind, were so happy to have a baby together, but were distressed when breastfeeding became difficult and painful for the mother. They are extremely poor and cannot afford to provide formula for their baby. Mercy provided the mother with medication to relieve her symptoms and educated her on proper breastfeeding methods, at no cost to the family. Now, the baby is able to breastfeed properly.
“I am feeling so overwhelmed about all that has been done for me at Mercy," Theresa says. "We are very pleased by the help we got from Mercy.”
Ten-month-old Isata Sandy, a twin, was referred to Mercy Hospital by the outreach team for an acute respiratory infection. Isata and her twin sister had recently graduated from the nutrition program when they reached a healthy weight. After treatment at the hospital, Isata made a full recovery.
Her mother, Isata Sandy, expressed her thanks for Mercy's care of her baby. “I am very grateful for Mercy Hospital for treating my child. Mercy Hospital nurses are very nice and treated us very well.”
Twenty-three students who sat the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination WASSCE have been taking computer classes three times a week at the CRC while awaiting their test results. The classes, led by CRC System Administrator Johnanese Baun are helping the students acquire basic computer knowledge. CRC students mostly do not have electricity at home, let alone access to computers. "It has been a wonderful moment to see the students very happy for the opportunity given to them," Johanese says. "The attendance is good!"
Pharmacy technician Samuel Sankoh is the newest member of the Mercy Hospital team.
In commemoration of World Pharmacy Day, please welcome the newest member of the Mercy Hospital family, Samuel Sankoh, who is a trained and qualified pharmacy technician. Samuel began working at Mercy at the beginning of September. He is excited about the opportunity to contribute to Mercy Hospital’s mission to provide the community with excellent and compassionate medical care.
The work of pharmacists is vital in Sierra Leone, Samuel says. “Pharmacists are really rare in Sierra Leone. We really do not have enough. I would encourage people to consider studying to be a pharmacist or encouraging their children to become one. They are really important. Pharmacists make sure that patients are receiving the correct medications. They have knowledge about how to prevent resistance to drugs, especially antibiotics.”
On World Pharmacy Day, let's appreciate those who have chosen this important work.
Five-year-old Joseph Lahai was brought to Mercy Hospital to be treated for malaria and a respiratory infection. “We came to Mercy because I had been before and had gotten good care here," his mother Baby Song says. "I am so happy that Mercy is in existence and always willing to help.” If not for Mercy, this mother would not have been able to afford treatment for her little boy, who survived and is well on his way to recovery.
CRC Case Manager Victor Kanu recently visited the home of former residential student Abdulai Dakowa, who is now enrolled in the Family Care Program. His mother Saffiatu is so grateful to be reunited with her son.
Saffiatu enrolled in the CRC's first microfinance class, and started an African soap business with the small loan she received upon graduation from the class. She joined the local "osusu" (lending group) and has been able to turn a profit and save money to support her little family.
Victor found that Abdulai is doing well at home with his mother, brother and sister. He helps with cooking and some domestic work, and participates in morning devotions with his family. His mother says that Abdulai is practicing his Christian life at home.
"I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to you for the valuable assistance your organization has rendered to me in the upbringing and education of my son Abdulai at this very difficult time," Saffiatu told Victor. "This offer to us has contributed so immensely to the future of Abdulai," she says with gratitude.
Mohamed Khadar and Ismael Vandy, members of Mercy Hospital's outreach team, were on a community mapping exercise to understand the needs in some of the villages reached by Mercy when they intervened to save the life of a woman who had just given birth to a stillborn baby.
The woman had given birth in her village and was walking the four miles to Kassama to seek medical treatment at the Maternal Child Health Post (MCHP). As she was walking, the woman began hemorrhaging and sought shelter in a hut by the side of the road. When Mohamed and Ismael encountered her, she was lying in a pool of blood and quickly losing consciousness. Mohamed immediately began treatment to stop the uterine bleeding and sent for help, which certainly saved the woman's life.
This story is far from typical for women giving birth in villages without MCHPs. The Sierra Leone government mandates that each village should be within four miles of a MCHP where women can seek treatment for themselves and their babies; but four miles is nearly an impossible distance to walk for a woman who has just given birth, let alone a woman who has had a complicated birth.
Thanks to Mohamed and Ismael's intervention, this woman survived. Clearly, there is a desperate need for more MCHPs in the villages served by Mercy's outreach teams.