We have recently had the chance to work together with people from different hospitals in Cameroon, Kenya, and the USA. We wanted to share some of those experiences.
This photo shows Angela giving a lecture at the Njinikom Catholic Hospital. Njinikom is only 40 minutes from Mbingo by car and we recently met some family medicine missionaries that moved there a few months ago. We have served as consultants to them from meeting in our living room and going over cases to answering phone calls and emails about how we would handle patients. A few weeks ago, they invited us to give a lecture and tour their hospital. Angela spoke about 4 pediatric topics where small changes can make a big difference - neonatal jaundice, pediatric malignancies, neonatal hepatits B, and sickle cell anemia. Chuck spent time answering questions on management of difficult medical cases in a resource-limited setting in Africa. It is great to be able to partner with the Catholic hospital in Njinikom to try to improve the quality of care for all people in this region.
This photo is from the front of Njinikom Catholic Hospital. Another catholic hospital in Cameroon is Shisong Cardiac Center. This is where Denis Nkenji (7 year old boy that we have been raising money to help) will get his heart surgery. The money for the surgery has now been paid and he is scheduled for this open-heart surgery on May 9th. Please keep him and the surgeons in your prayers. Thanks again to each of you who donated money towards this surgery. What an amazing blessing you have already been to Denis and his mother.
This picture shows John and Lovely Mbah. We took this picture one evening after we all had dinner together. John is one of the main nurse anesthetists in the surgery department and Lovely is the charge nurse on the pediatrics ward. They are two of the best and most dedicated staff at Mbingo. Their partnership and dedication to the hospital started at a young age - they were both born at Mbingo! They have sacrificed through the years in giving their time and energy to caring for patients and Mbingo is certainly a better place because of it.
This past week we were happy to have Brent and Morgan McDonald visit us. They are great friends from Nashville, TN and work at Vanderbilt. Morgan is a internal medicine/pediatrics attending and the assistant program director for the med/peds residency program. She rounded on the pediatrics and medicine wards and helped with many of our teaching conferences. This picture shows Angela and Morgan just after rounding in the neonatal ICU.
Brent works in hospital administration at Vanderbilt and met with our hospital administrators to see how he could help both now and in the future. It was great to have them visit us and show them what life is like at Mbingo. This picture is from a hike that Brent took with Chuck. While hiking up one of the mountains, a local farmer asked us to stop while he went to get his son. He told us his son (pictured) had never seen a white man before. Brent offered to shake his hand and the boy slowly made his way to the fence line that keeps the cows out of the man's farm. They shook hands and the boy just stared at Brent and Chuck for a minute or two. It is amazing that someone that lives just a few miles from our house has never seen a white man before.
This is our new BiPAP machine. It was brought to us by a respiratory therapist named Annette who has been working at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. She came to work at Mbingo for a few weeks. While here, she helped Chuck take care of a few young adults in severe respiratory distress. The BiPAP machine delivers positive pressure with each breath and can function somewhat like a ventilator, but with only a mask instead of a tube in the trachea. Using this machine, we were able to keep the patients alive and breathing long enough to diurese or dialyze them to improve their respiratory status. In addition, the machine will be able to help many post-operative patients who are still having trouble breathing after surgery.
We also recently started a partnership with Bamenda Regional Hospital here in Cameroon. They have a GeneXpert machine that does rapid PCR testing for TB (very sensitive test to find TB in sputum, tissue, or body fluids). We had a meeting with the doctors who run the machine and worked out a way for Mbingo to be able to use the machine as well. We now collect samples and send them by courier to the Bamenda Regional Hospital (45 minutes away) each day. After the test is run, the results are texted from a cell phone in Bamenda to our SMS printer in the lab (only requires cell phones to be working). We then act on the results, whether positive or negative. The machine is far superior to looking for AFB (TB) under a microscope and even gives information on drug resistance if the sample is positive (rifampin resistance which is a marker for MDR-TB). Chuck and Angela created the algorithm pictured above to guide our doctors and other staff at Mbingo on the correct way to manage possible TB patients while utilizing the GeneXpert machine.
This picture shows some of the local kids in their school uniforms on their way home after school. They all decided to give us a thumbs-up, except the girl in the middle who gave us a pose.
This is Ginger (Chuck's mom) with Ben. Ginger stayed with us for almost 6 weeks and was a huge help taking care of Isaac and Ben while we both worked. We already miss her and the boys miss their GiGi.