As we mentioned in a previous blog post, we now have a functioning peritoneal dialysis service to use for acute kidney injuries. We have the supplies to give 30 days of dialysis for patients that have an acute worsening of their renal function as we wait for it to improve. Chuck has been managing the dialysis patients since we returned to Mbingo and we wanted to share with you one of the true success stories.
Goodness is a young lady that presented to our hospital severely ill from the complications of malaria. She had been at another hospital and had not improved and her family brought her to Mbingo. At that time, Goodness was essentially in a coma and also had renal failure, but was no longer febrile as the malaria had been treated. The coma was from a mixture of cerebral malaria and uremia from the renal failure. Chuck decided to start peritoneal dialysis hoping that if we fixed her uremia, her mental status might improve. The dialysis worked and her mental status started to normalize, but we were still praying that her kidneys would recover so she would be able to stop dialysis. The options for longterm dialysis here are limited and costly, so if her kidney injury did not reverse, she was unlikely to survive. At that point, she developed peritonitis (abdominal infection) from the dialysis catheter in her abdomen and this was treated successfully (first case of peritonitis since we started this program). Then about a week later, she started to increase her urine output and her kidneys recovered! We took out the catheter, finished treating her infection, and she walked out of the hospital with normal kidneys. What a perfect name she has - Goodness - to remind us how good our God is to use this program to bring her healing.
One of biggest interventions that the pediatricians (Angela, JR, and Lindsay) have done is with neonatal hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is common in Cameroon and all across Africa and much of it is transmitted from mother to child at the time of birth. The child then can become chronically infected with hepatitis B and is at risk for cirrhosis and liver cancer later in life. If the child is female, years later she can transmit the virus to her children. The hepatitis B vaccine was only being given in a combination vaccine at 6 weeks of age (outside of the window to prevent maternal to child transmission of hepatitis B). If you can give hepatitis B alone within 12 hours of birth to a child born to a hepatitis B positive mother, the risk of infection to the child falls dramatically. They were able to find this vaccine in Cameroon and now this is the policy of caring for these children at Mbingo and in other CBC (Cameroon Baptist Convention) hospitals across Cameroon.
Before we arrived, there had never been a full-time pediatrician at Mbingo despite the desperate need for one. This need has only been confirmed as the pediatric volume has increased even more since there are American-trained pediatricians here now. As many of you know, we feel God is calling us back to the United States in late Spring 2014 after our two years serving with Samaritan's Purse are finished. We have been praying that God would lead another pediatrician here to work. We recently had the Nordells here - Ben, Isaiah, and Janielle (pictured above). Janielle is a pediatrician and they are in the process of looking for where God is leading them to work longterm. They would be a great addition to Mbingo and are seriously considering moving here permanently. We will be praying that God leads them back!
Some things are just bigger in Africa. Isaac has gotten bigger too, but we were referring to this giant snail. He was just making his way across our patio slowly and entertained Isaac and Cathen for a long time.
Ben is getting into the Mbingo lifestyle too. He has been on 2 official hikes over the past couple weekends. On Saturday, we took him on his first trip to the back waterfall, also known as Paradise Falls. It is a four hour hike roundtrip and we barely made it home before the monsoon downpour. Tired, but dry.
Throughout our time here, we have felt supported by Samaritan's Purse (the organization that we came to Cameroon with). This has never been more true than over the past week. Spencer and Annette Nicholl are part of the "Spiritual Care Team" for Samaritan's Purse. They periodically travel to different areas of the world where there are Samaritan's Purse missionaries working and encourage them, spend time with them, and lead them in devotions and prayer time. Living and working in a different culture can be difficult on many levels and we all struggle with different aspects of it. We are thankful for the time the Nicholls took to come out to Cameroon and the spiritual and general life encouragement they brought. It has been a refreshing time.
Isaac and Ben are getting used to life as siblings and roommates. They are sharing a small bedroom and Ben is even sleeping through the night! This photo was a rare chance we got Isaac to sit still and take a picture with his brother.
Ben is growing like a weed. It is hard to believe that he is almost 3 months old. The smiles are coming more regularly and he loves to watch Isaac no matter what he is doing (which is usually playing with toy dinosaurs).