The new BethanyKids unit in Addis is now open, and Ethiopian children with major surgical needs are starting to come for treatment. Here is an update from our Ethiopian partners:
Some come from the so-called “emerging states” of Ethiopia, the less-privileged and developed regions, hundreds of miles away and clearly not comfortable in the cosmopolitan environment of our hospital. Others are sent to us by various NGOs or friends from neighboring countries such as Southern Sudan and Somaliland. Many of our patients come from our previous work areas in the Horn of Africa, considering the grueling 16-hour car drive across the border so much easier than flying to Kenya… Most have been sick for years yet were unable to access health care, whether because of poverty or social or geographical isolation. Children whose operations would normally be done the first few days after birth come to us years later, and even in their teens. Like the two precious girls with bladder exstrophy, a debilitating congenital problem where the urinary bladder is open to the skin, thus leaving the children wholly incontinent throughout their lives until surgery. Both girls came from far away with unoperated exstrophy well into their teens – thus how great their joy was when they became… through the surgery, “whole” and dry for the first time in their lives!
We receive all these children and their weary, scared but hopeful parents with love, compassion, and hopefully good care. We try to provide them with social support as they adapt to the strange, busy life of Addis…. D. is one of several wonderful volunteers… She talks to the moms of our little patients, gets them set up in Addis, finds places for them to stay or simply opens her own house to them.
Dan’s pediatric surgeon “partner” in Addis, who was the BethanyKids’ first trainee from Ethiopia, successfully sat his certification exams, becoming not only the first pediatric surgeon who graduated from the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA), but also the first pediatric surgeon to receive his training in East Africa! He is now a fully-fledged consultant pediatric surgeon, one of only 4 in the country of 90 million people!
Thanks to those of you who have contributed to this need in Etiopia. If you would like to contribute to this life-changing work in this surgery center in Addis, please click the “Donate Here” button above.