Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Today the Minister of Health, Dr. Pariranyetwa and Dr. Chombo the Minister of Local Government and   National Housing and Public Works arrived by helicopter with our Minister of Parliament, Dr. Gandawa and several top government officials from the Ministry of Health.  They discussed with us what happened and pledged their total support to rebuild the buildings destroyed and have people here quickly to assess if the buildings can be saved at all or new buildings have to built and how.  They promised that something would get started and accomplished this year, not waiting until 2014! How exciting is that?

We gave officials a tour of the fire damaged buildings as well as a tour of the hospital.  We only had 5 patients admitted and 3 in Maternity and one in Labor.  We had a busier outpatient today and Antenatal Clinic as well as our ART and TB patients for refills, so it was quite busy today.  Slowly we are building up patients.

The top medical officers from our Provincial Medical Office and District Hospital and the Medical Superintendent of our Provincial Hospital in Chinhoyi came also.  Chinhoyi Hospital also brought blankets, sheets, pillows and boxes of medicine and supplies including some serving dishes for the hospital.  We were so thankful for these donations and have put them into use already.

The Lions Club from Karoi sent people yesterday to see the damage and take pictures and have promised to bring plates and cups and food for our kitchen by the weekend and have applied for an International grant to help also. We are so thankful for their care and concern for our hospital and patients.

We are so thankful to so many people who have quickly responded to our needs.  God has blessed us beyond our imagination since last week on Thursday morning when we saw the flames coming out of the kitchen, laundry and drug storeroom. We were just focusing on the loss and not how much God was going to provide for us.

We are so thankful to the government who has recognized our dedication to provide good quality health care to all people in Zimbabwe we serve daily and the need to quickly get us up and working fully as soon as possible.  Each day we see some progress in getting back to full capacity.  Even though it has been nice to have a bit of a break from so many patients we see each day, we are anxious to get back to work, and our community is ready for us too!

We are so thankful for the people throughout the world who have responded to our needs.   So many people have called and written to express their sorrow and sympathies and to pledge their help.  We are so touched by all of this.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the US, a day we remember all we are thankful for.  We are thankful to the government of Zimbabwe and their promised help, and to so many who have donated and are asking others to donate.  It has been so overwhelming to all of us.  You have made our Thanksgiving Day a special one this year. Thank You to all of you!
Dr. Chombo and Dr. Pariranyetwa
Touring the fire damage
Dr. Pariranyetwa speaking at the hospital
MP Gandawa on left, Dr. Chombo and Dr. Kajese on right
Dr. Pariranyetwa with me

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fire strikes Chidamoyo Hospital

At 0230 on the morning of 21-November-2013 the guards at the hospital saw flames coming out of the locked kitchen at Chidamoyo Christian Hospital.  Immediately the Administrator and all people on the mission were alerted and came to the hospital to help.

15 fire extinguishers were used to try and stop the spread of the fire but it quickly spread to the laundry on one side and the drug storeroom on the other side.  While Major was using the fire extinguishers on the kitchen door part of the ceiling fell in and hit him on the side of the face and spun him around.  In the smoke he was disoriented and flames were on 2 sides of him.  The driver of the construction company came up and pulled him out!  He went on to continue fighting the fire for 4 more hours!

The community as well as the Construction crew from Harare working on upgrading our Waiting Mother shelters jumped into action and came with buckets of water, ladders, picks, shovels and axes to try and contain the fire. Amazingly this fire which destroyed three buildings was stopped with only buckets of water!  This was really God’s power.  People were running to boreholes when we exhausted all the water from our tanks and the driver went and filled barrels in my swimming pool!  We never ran out of water—another miracle for Chidamoyo.

When the fire began to approach the Administration block people quickly evacuated drugs, furniture and equipment from the Administration block.  On Friday we actually found out that the tresses above my office, Major’s office and the linen room had been burnt.  How it was stopped by itself without falling into the ceiling and starting that wing on fire is only through the hand of God!

The extent of the damage of the fire is the total loss of the kitchen and all equipment inside and provisions, the laundry with blankets, sheets, patient gowns, a washing machine and a roller/ironing machine, and a drug storeroom that had a large amount of drugs and supplies, as well as the chaplain’s office.

We immediately moved all patients to the road outside the hospital when the fire began and the nurses did an excellent job caring for them and getting them transferred safely.  When it was light and the fire was under control we moved the patients to the outside veranda of our OPD and Maternity Departments.  We quickly assessed the patients and sent 18 patients to Karoi District Hospital.  Their ambulance came and took the 3 most critical patients and then their lorry took the rest of the patients.  We were able to discharge 26 patients home for review at a later date and we kept 5 patients who are not serious and will be going home very soon.

We are unable to operate our inpatient department as we have limited resources to cook and provide linen for patients as well as our drug supplies are mostly gone.  We have instructed patients to use other facilities until further notice but we will try and continue to see our reviews for TB and ART.  We were able to send a team for our ART and EPI outreach on Thursday after the fire and we can continue to cover that. When they announced that Chidamoyo Hospital was closed for now—people started screaming and crying.

We do not have a functioning theater until we can get electricity working again in the hospital. A vaccine fridge and a pharmacy and lab fridge have been moved to staff housing where there is electricity when Zesa is working.  It was off from 10 a.m. on the 21st until 8 p.m. on the 22nd.  So we hope now it will be reliable.

From the preliminary findings we feel these three buildings will have to be totally demolished and new buildings built.  This will take some time but we hope we can build a temporary kitchen and laundry facility.  We are thankful we have a new storeroom to secure things which was just finished in the last 2 months.

We are thankful to the community for their quick response to help contain the fire and for the Construction Company workers who helped so much in putting the fire out.

There was no loss of life or injury and we are thankful to God for that.  When the huge flames were coming out of the drug room and vials were exploding , I was sure someone would be hurt.  We had alcohol, ethanol and other very explosive things in that storeroom, and people were on ladders above the roof with buckets to put the huge flames out!  Not a single injury, burn or any injury—a true miracle.

Last night (Friday) we received a truck from Chinhoyi and Karoi hospitals with linen, things for the kitchen, drugs (some drugs we haven’t seen in a few months here even!).  We wanted to remodel our kitchen this year and now we can build a whole new building from scrap.  Yesterday we had people from ZACH (the organization that represents all mission hospitals in Zimbabwe), Red Cross, and Disaster Relief for our District and they have all promised to seek donations on our behalf—even from the businesses in Karoi.

A group of business people from our township showed up today to tell us since the hospital is closed their business has stopped.  They want to help to get us going because their livelihood depends on it.  Also the Kombis (vans that transport people to and from the hospital) are sitting with no work to do and they want to help.  It is amazing how our hospital supports so many other businesses!

Over and over the people said “this is our hospital for our Province and we need to get it back and running as there is no other hospital like this to help our people.”  It has been amazing to see how loved and supported we are.  Everyone up to the President’s office knows about this and all have promised to get us up and running quickly!

Many people have sent emails of encouragement to us and we thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts.  Even through this disaster so many people have helped in so many ways.

We do have some immediate expenses of hiring extra people to clear the rubble, getting things torn down and taken away to make it safe to walk under.  Also we had just bought an ox for feeding patients the day before and so lost $500 in meat and a freezer. We lost food and supplies which we have to buy now, luckily we only have a few patients to serve (today we had 7 in-patients).  We have to hire electricians to come and follow all wires and put new wiring in the rest of the hospital to get the hospital up and running again with electricity.  We have moved fridges and freezers to our houses which do have electricity, when Zesa is on, in order to keep vaccines, blood and reagents cold.  We hope to get the theater on this next week in case we have to do a C/S.  The X-ray room is on the separate circuit so we can use it.
If you would like to send a donation please send it to: Chidamoyo Christian Hospital P.O. Box 714 Sebastopol, CA  95473-0714.  Mark it for the FIRE.

Thank you for all your emails and thoughts and love.  We all feel them.  I can’t get back to each of you individually right now, but thank you to all of you for your generous support.  You are all blessings to us.

Wing on right destroyed
Drug storeroom still smoking
 Backside of wing that burnt
Charred trusses going into Admin Block
Patients on veranda of OPD
Entrance to kitchen
Taking care of patients outside

Saturday, November 16, 2013

We are now solar!

Lots of projects are coming together this week and we are happy to see some completion!

First we have been busy laying down pipes from the new borehole to the water tanks up on our hill.  Working in this summer heat has been a big job for the men digging and laying the pipe—seems it is all in the sun and not in the shade.  We have also bought a new pump we will use and also have finished the pump house around the new borehole.  We are hoping this project will be done in the next month.

Then we have are happy that on Wednesday, Major went to Harare to pick up the rest of the solar equipment and brought back 2 technicians from Chinhoyi who began work on Thursday installing the 18 solar panels and wiring to make us totally solar 24/7!  No more unreliable ZESA!  We are so excited!  The technicians have been working up on our “hot tin roof” for the last few days in 110+ degree heat—right in the sun.  They are being baked!  Using solar will save us thousands of dollars a month in electricity bills and also will give us reliable energy—something we have never known here! 

We are so thankful for all the donors who gave at our Seattle fundraiser to make this a reality!  Thank you to Larry and Cheri Gail and all our Friends of Chidamoyo group.  It is fully operational today!

We are making some changes in our Laboratory.  We are remodeling one part to put in a separate room for drawing blood and then 2 rooms for Laboratory tests.  Our two blood machines which Sebastopol Rotary Club purchased for us should be arriving any day.  We are redesigning the lab to include air conditioning which is needed to keep the machines functioning well.  We will all be volunteering, in this heat, to work in the Lab.

We also received word this week that we have been picked by Ministry of Health to get a Gen X machine which is to look for multi drug resistant Tuberculosis—something becoming more common here.  They are redesigning the other room in the lab and will be putting in an air conditioner for that part of the Lab!

God is good and the hospital is progressing so we are so happy.  Thank you to all our many supporters who make it all possible.
We have been very hot and dry weather--almost 110+ degrees for the past 2 weeks.  This week there has been a "heat wave" warning for  this weekend until  Tuesday when rain is suppose to be coming. I guess the 110+ was not a heat wave!  It was 91 this morning at breakfast.
Solar panels go up!

Wall goes up in remodeling of the Laboratory
Solar panels on roof of the hospital

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A container arrived

Last week on Saturday a 20 foot container sent from Sebastopol Christian Church arrived here at Chidamoyo! It had been sent in June and so we were very anxious for its arrival.

On Thursday we started to unload it.  We unload it bit by bit as we have time and bring the boxes and barrels to the hospital and put in the hallway outside my office.  Then as I have time we unload and sort through the boxes.

We  have only been able to unpack a few things but we received new printers for the office, gauze and gloves which we were desperately in need off and some foley catheters.  We will continue to work on it as we have time!

We are so thankful so many nurses, doctors and other people who save these for us.  Without these supplies we would not be able to afford them here.  Thank you for all who save for us.

Also a big thank you to Gene and Sue Beckstead who drive all over Sonoma County picking up the supplies and have their garage always full of supplies for Chidamoyo Christian Hospital.  they have to park their cars in their driveway because we keep their garage full!

We decided this year to buy a plow for our tractor and help staff and the local community  in plowing their field and then have money to buy fuel for
our generator and vehicles with the proceeds.  We have made close to $4000 in 2 weeks and we have more waiting!  Major took the tractor today to do his fields and mine.  We are so thankful for this.

Last night we had a bit of rain for a few minutes (2 mls) and of course it knocked out our electricity which just came back on Wednesday night--so here we go again waiting for them to fix it and for the next storm to knock it out!

Opening the container--Major and guys