"Don’t worry, you are going to get well soon.
Abu Bakarr Kanu has made excellent progress in his recovery from severe burns he suffered in March of 2017. Since that time, Mercy Hospital has been committed to his care and recovery. Abu Bakarr lived for months at Mercy Hospital, so that he could receive around the clock care. Additionally, The Child Rescue Centre provided weekly counseling sessions to help him to cope.
Abu Bakarr and his brothers Yahyah and Mohamed were officially enrolled in the Child Rescue Centre, and last fall, he was able to move home with brothers, uncle and grandmother, and begin classes at the Bo Kulanda Town Primary School.
Abu Bakarr loves school, and is getting good grades. His best subjects are English and mathematics, and he spends a lot of time studying for both. His best friend in school is named Brian, and they are also in the same class. Brian and Abu Bakarr love to play and read together. His brothers continue to encourage him in his recovery, telling him often, “don’t worry, you are going to get well soon.”
Abu Bakarr’s wounds are still healing, as healing from serious burns is a long and laborious process. He is happy to be home and going to school, but he still visits Mercy regularly to get his bandages changed, and to allow the Mercy staff to track his progress.
Fortunately, Abu Bakarr's family lives close to both the school and Mercy Hospital, and he has many friends who are happy to walk with him to school and to the hospital. Neither is far, but he needs to take breaks along the way.
Though progress on construction came to a halt during the recent presidential elections in Sierra Leone, the finishing touches are at last being completed on the expansion at Mercy Hospital.
The electrical wiring and three air conditioners have been installed. These units are a critical part of keeping patients and doctors comfortable and safe during surgical procedures. The remaining items to be completed are primarily cosmetic; finishing the ceilings, installing light fixtures, covering pipes, installing doors for the operating rooms, finishing the ramp, and completing the waiting area.
Additional facility issues at Mercy have also been addressed. One of the things Mercy has wanted to do for a long time is to better ensure the security of the compound. Mercy was able to use some savings to build a wall behind the hospital, extending from the Child Rescue Centre on one side, to the old wall that surrounds UMC Urban Centre on the other to create a U shape. The new wall will limit the number of people who use Mercy’s grounds as a pass through, and help the hospital secures its own and patients’ property. It will also strengthen disease control by allowing staff to monitor people entering the compound, and ensuring everyone washes their hands as they pass through the guard station. If a contagious disease breaks out, Mercy will be in a much stronger position to contain infection and protect patients and staff.
New fencing was also installed around the ash pits and garbage container, to ensure proper containment of hazardous materials.
Several months ago, Mercy Hospital successfully treated a small boy who had suffered second degree burns on his hands. The mother could not afford to pay for the child's treatment, but Mercy treats all patients regardless of their ability to pay. His mother returned to the hospital to show her appreciation to Mercy staff for the care they provided to her little boy, who has healed well from his injuries.
Burn injuries are among the most devastating and traumatic injuries, and are a major contributor to child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
Mercy Hospital Maternity staff recently held a one day training on gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes mellitus occurs in women in whom diabetes commences or is recognized for the first time during pregnancy. A small proportion of such women may have had occult diabetes before pregnancy.
Dr. Amara explained why he felt the class was needed. "The reason for this topic came as a result of diagnosing a pregnant woman who came with classical symptoms (polyuria, polylepsia and weight loss). I ordered a random sugar to be done which happened to be 12.5mmol/L (higher than normal).
"I asked the charge nurse of the maternity ward the incidence of gestational diabetes at Mercy, and her response was she had never diagnosed one.
"I came to the conclusion that there may be gestational diabetes coming at Mercy but they may be missed. This was an awareness training for staff at the Maternity to pay attention to the cardinal signs of gestational Diabetes."
The training was conducted and facilitated by Dr. Amara and Sister Augusta, hospital matron.
Most of the students enrolled in Child Rescue Centre programs live in and around Bo, where the CRC headquarters and facility is located. However, the CRC now supports students in Freetown, Makeni, Kenema, Fengehun and other places. Recently, CRC staff who manage the Family Care Program traveled to Freetown to conduct home and school visits with the CRC students living with their families there.
Many people have the misconception that the Child Rescue Centre is a place located in Bo, Sierra Leone, where children live. In fact, the residential program of the CRC is the smallest of all CRC programs, making up just 3% of the total number of students who are supported by the CRC. The majority of the CRC students live with their own or foster families, and receive financial and medical support that allows them to enjoy growing up within a family and community, while also providing them with access to education and medical care that would otherwise be out of reach.
A young mother came to Mercy Hospital seeking treatment for one of her six month old twins, who was suffering from diarrhea and vomiting. Her husband had abandoned her when she was five months pregnant with the twins and she was destitute. The sick baby was diagnosed and treated, and both twins met the criteria for enrollment in Mercy's Nutrition Program. The mother was supplied with Bennemix for the babies. "She was speechless to say thanks to our service, instead she burst into tears," Hospital Administrator Jinnah Lahai reported.
The CRC staff has worked hard for 18 months to ensure that the remaining residential children have had ample opportunity to form attachments with the families with whom they’ll be reunified this summer. Families and children have benefited from frequent interactions both at the CRC facility and in their own homes within the Bo community, including having children spend weekends and long vacations at their families’ homes. The children and their families were very excited to leave the CRC on March 23rd in order to spend the Easter Holidays together. All the students will return to the CRC on April 3rd, 2018.
Due to the ongoing presidential elections being held in Sierra Leone, a special session was held with the parents prior to the children’s departure. Members of the CRC staff addressed various topics relating to child care and protection during the busy and somewhat hectic election season. The program concluded with refreshments for parents, children, and CRC staff at the CRC dining hall.
Nine month old Batu Johnny weighs just 15 pounds. Thanks to the Mercy Outreach team and the generous support of donors, Batu was enrolled in the nutrition program, and has received her first package of Bennimix. Her mother Agnes is so grateful. "The Bennimix supply by Mercy Hospital Outreach team has increased my child’s appetite and nourished her. With three children to cater for, at times I only can afford a single meal a day. Thanks for the intervention of the Mercy Hospital Outreach team, my baby will have enough every day.”
Millicent Koroma, 18 months old, was examined in her village of Nyandehun by the Mercy Hospital Outreach team. Weighing just 16 pounds, Millicent is enrolled in Mercy’s nutrition program, and has received 6 packages of Bennimix over the past six months.
When the staff examined her, they discovered that she had a high fever, cough and appeared to be in serious respiratory distress. She and her mother were referred to Mercy Hospital for prompt medical intervention. As soon as she recovered, she and her mother were able to return home.