Yellow Fever near Soddo

We have bad news and good news…

 

The bad news: there has been an outbreak of Yellow Fever in our region of Ethiopia, affecting about 35 people and killing 10.

The good news: Three of Soddo Christian Hospital’s staff members were instrumental in identifying the disease and reporting the outbreak to the World Health Organization, leading to the shipment of 1.5 million doses of the vaccine to Ethiopia.

The discovery of the outbreak began when a patient showed up at our hospital with all the classic symptoms of Yellow Fever. But since that virus has not been present here in recent history, clinicians were hesitant to identify it as such right away. However, the next day another patient presented with similar symptoms and died. Then other patients at the hospital began telling our staff stories about people dying in a certain town – three of them in the same family!

That’s when Dr. Ribka, Dr. Sok, and Nurse Woynishet reported their suspicions to the Zonal Health Officer, even though it was late on a Saturday night. Immediately, the CDC, WHO and UNICEF got involved with investigating, documenting and testing. Yellow Fever was indeed the confirmed diagnosis.

 

Photo L to R, Dr. Joakim, missionary infectious disease specialist from Sweden; Nurse Woynishet, works in ER and is responsible for reporting infectious diseases to health officials; Dr. Ribka, general practitioner; Dr. Sok, missionary internal medicine specialist.

 

 

 

Thanks to the astuteness and persistence of our staff, 1.5 million Yellow Fever vaccines are now in Ethiopia. Our hospital is one of the immunization sites, having already immunized nearly 1,000 people since last Friday.

 We are so very proud of our staff for acting quickly, containing the outbreak, and saving many lives!

 

 

Dr. Sok updating the SCH medical staff about the Yellow Fever outbreak and the containment strategy

The official news story at: https://in.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-yellowfever/yellow-fever-kills-10-in-ethiopia-who-ships-1-45-million-vaccines-idINKCN1NA2K3

 


Just like being here, you can make a difference, Amy Hinrichs writes about a visit to a rural clinic

Is there money in the benevolence fund?” Dr. Mary asked me as we headed out to the rural clinic site near Ajora Falls. “I’m concerned Temegtu isn’t healing. I want to run some labs on him and get an ultrasound. I also want to bring him home with me so I can supervise his nutrition and wound care.”But Temegtu didn’t show up at clinic on Thursday. Fortunately, we know where he lives, so on the way home from clinic we stopped and called out for him.

Temegtu, his mother, siblings and neighbors gathered around the car as Dr. Mary explained her proposition. “I’d like to take Temegtu to Soddo Christian Hospital. He will stay at my neighbor’s house, but I will feed him and make sure he continues to get the care he needs so his skin infection can heal. Do I have your permission?”

I’m telling you, people…the relief, the gratitude of that mom…it was a sight to behold. If your son had an infection seemingly taking over his head, neck and chest, and you were powerless against it, how desperate would you feel? As we pulled away with Temegtu in the car, his mother (Dad was out working in the fields) and neighbors blessed us and thanked us over and over until we rounded the bend.

Guess what, though? We DIDN’T have any money in the benevolence fund. Since I was right there and had the money to help, I told Mary that Kurt and I would happily cover all his hospital and non-hospital costs. This is not a story about us, though, because you would have done the same thing if you’d been here.

Which is why I'm relaying this story to you...you can do the very same thing without being here in Ethiopia. I encourage you to be a blessing to others by becoming a monthly donor to the benevolence fund of Soddo Christian Hospital.

Go to soddo.org or click the blue button below to become a one-time or recurring donor to “Fund a Patient.” It's like being here.

 

  Donate now


Your gift can help

On a beautiful day in Soddo, as I was walking to the playground with my children, I ran into our missionary internist who told me of a young adult woman who had come to the hospital in respiratory failure due to Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Her respiratory muscles were too weak to take in enough air and she was suffocating. She was 34 weeks pregnant. The medical team had quickly placed her on a breathing machine and obtained permission from the family to do a Cesarean section to save the baby’s life. The baby was requiring a lot of support for breathing, but was stable and the mom was in recovery.

As a new mother of a nearly 3-month old baby, my heart quickened for this mother, her other children and her family. As the week went on, despite our best care, the mother died. Baby was slowly taking in formula each day, but after a few days, developed some blood in his stomach, likely from necrotizing enterocolitis. This is one of the feared complications of premature birth, and the risk rises when a baby receives formula instead of breast milk. The baby could not eat for a few days and started to get malnourished. There was no way for him to get breast milk from his mother, and the family had left to prepare for her burial. So who would pay for this child’s care? Unlike America, there is no medical insurance or Medicaid for orphans and widows. If a patient cannot pay for medical care in cash at the time of service, most places will turn the patient away. So this motherless child was left in our NICU without family and without much to eat for nearly 7 days. Thanks to some of our dedicated supporters, we had money in our benevolence fund to pay for this child’s hospitalization and we didn’t have to send him away.

As I sat at home and fed my own baby, I felt the grief of this child and his family and prayed for this baby. I felt that I needed to pump extra milk for this orphaned child, so I did.

Psalm 10:14 says, “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted. You consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

Our missionary community rallied around this child. I pumped for the baby, and we fed him through his nasogastric tube. As we started feeding him, he was comforted, cried less and tolerated his feeds. Our community of workers and NICU staff took turns holding baby throughout the day to give him attachment, love, prayers, and touch. The busy NICU staff commented that baby would be crying, but when someone came to hold him, he stopped.

We gave him everything we could: fluids, antibiotics, oxygen, a blood transfusion, physical touch, donated breast milk, and prayers. My heart was full of joy. He was flourishing, happy and felt a little like a part of our family. Then suddenly, he developed a fever and rash and died less than 18 hours later. I cried…a lot. As I walked home from the hospital, having just declared his death and completed the paperwork, God reminded me this boy was loved. He was placed into a family, our Soddo family. He was touched and held, and now he is with is mother. It was difficult to accept this as I walked home to my healthy 3 month old baby, but in this matter I have no choice.

It is a blessing to be a part of this hospital and this loving and caring team, even in difficult times. Yet now our benevolence fund is empty. We have to pay our staff a living wage and therefore cannot provide free care to everyone. So the dilemma exists: what do we do when faced with the poor, the widow, the orphan? Do we simply turn them away and not care for their medical needs? I am asking you to consider giving generously to our benevolence fund so we can be the light of Christ and the hands of God together as an international team that extends beyond the borders of our hospital grounds to those that come to our hospital’s door. Would you partner with us?

 


Would you consider a wedding gift to Soddo Christian Hospital?

Would you consider listing Soddo Christian Hospital as a gift idea for your wedding?

 

One of our recent visitors is!  We recently received the following letter from Anna, a volunteer this year at the hospital. (Last names have been removed for publication.)

Thank you for the well wishes for my upcoming marriage! Connor and I are very excited for October to be here! Soddo Christian Hospital posed our first HUGE obstacle as a couple, as I left to spend two months at Soddo having just recently entered into our relationship.  When I first told Conner about my upcoming trip, I was terrified. What if he wasn’t willing to wait around for me to return home to America? Believe it or not, I already knew before my trip that I wanted to spend forever with him. To my surprise, he was beyond supportive and even sought out daily devotional for us to do together each day while I was away. 

As we started planning the wedding, the topic of wedding favors came up, and we instantly knew what we wanted to do – pay for a surgery in the name of our guests! I have seen firsthand the wonders done in Soddo, and I am so thankful for the experiences I had at SCH. We plan to have an area set up at the wedding reception where we share with our guests the work God does through the surgeries at Soddo. With the patient’s permission, of course, we’ll display pre-op and post-op pictures you provide—and maybe x-rays too since I’m an x-ray nerd! In honor of our guests, Connor and I would like to donate between $800-1000 to the Benevolence Fund for a future surgery. I will leave it completely up to doctors at SCH to determine who needs the money most.

I look forward to hearing back from you and working together to change someone’s life!

As a footnote, our doctors are amazingly excited about this gift.  We have already identified two patients whose surgeries the wedding gift will cover.

This video shows how another patient’s life was changed as a result of a surgery performed thanks to our "Fund a Patient/Benevolence Fund".

https://vimeo.com/118860296

Last year the Soddo Benevolence Fund provided over $175,000 for our poorest patients’ surgeries.

Would you consider a gift?   You can donate here.


Our wonderful staff: Giving back however they can

 

One of our recent visiting residents wrote about his week at Soddo Christian Hospital this summary of his visit:

“We do what we can”

It takes a huge team to care for patients here.  This picture is of the multidisciplinary team that makes orthopedic rounds each day.  They do a wonderful job in very challenging situations. Our staff every day confront medical needs that challenge both their medical skills and their emotional fortitude. The orthopedic surgery resident from UCLA just finishing his week-long surgical rotation at Soddo summarizes his experience below.

“It’s been a tough week here.  There are so many people that come to Soddo Christian Hospital from all over the eastern part of Africa and Ethiopia, and there are only so many resources and only so much time in a day to help people.  There is such an inundation of trauma from road traffic accidents, and [so many] infections [because of] people waiting to see physicians or travelling for days to come to this hospital, that the operating room is reserved for the [most] serious of emergencies.  Emergencies that would be deemed emergencies in the United States are true emergencies here, too, but the timing of treating them is delayed, with a certain amount of triage that [must occur].  For example, hip fractures are generally treated within 24-48 hours to reduce morbidity and complications from immobility and pain.  [But] we’ve had a patient in the hospital who has had a hip fracture for 2 months, who arrived last week.  He’s in need of hip implants, which are coming, but are waiting at customs in Addis Ababa.  They should arrive next week.

“It’s hard to see patients in clinic who have real problems that are solvable with the right resources: osteoarthritis treated with knee or hip replacements, ACL or PCL injuries treated with arthroscopic reconstructions, or even basic fractures like tibias, femurs, forearms or elbows.  Many are treated in a delayed fashion because of the need to take care of infections or open fractures. [See the two children pictured.]   Many emergency patients sleep in the yard of the hospital waiting for a bed.  It’s heart-wrenching to see children who can’t walk because of neglected, infected hips that have destroyed the joint, or complications from things like TB and polio, which are so rare in the US.

“Over the past week, we’ve had some complex cases.  As a team, we were able to perform 2 complex pelvic operations; a scapula/glenoid fracture was fixed, as well as multiple open femur and tibia fractures, along with a few pediatric fractures due to traffic accidents.  Additionally, we had a couple of patients with multiple knee ligament injuries.  Given my interest in sports medicine, and the presence of an arthroscopy tower in the OR (one of the few in the country), Dr. Anderson challenged me to take care of a couple of the knee ligament injuries and expose the Ethiopian residents to arthroscopy.  I quickly realized that arthroscopic surgery here would be extremely challenging: the language barrier, the power goes out frequently, [and] the staff is used to dealing with trauma [injuries so] all [the] arthroscopic instruments are new [to them]. Additionally, these injuries were difficult as multiple ligaments were injured, and we would be reconstructing multiple ligaments at a time.  [Seeing my hesitation], Dr. Anderson motivated me by explaining that we were likely the only people in Ethiopia who had the equipment and the ability to treat these injuries.

“[W]e ran 4 operating rooms at the same time.  One Ethiopian resident took consults in the Emergency Room, one Ethiopian resident operated on infections and long bone fractures, Dr. Anderson and another Ethiopian resident fixed a complex pelvic fracture, and the fourth Ethiopian resident helped me with [the] arthroscopic PCL reconstruction and used the fluoroscope machine to fix a complex tibia fracture. We all made it through. And when we were done, the knee felt stable, the pelvis was fixed, and 8 other infected bones and fractures were clean and fixed.  It was a tough, long day, but in retrospect, we accomplished a lot as a team.

“As I reflect on my last day operating here, I think there’s a bright outlook for this country.   I’m encouraged that I helped expose the Ethiopian residents to arthroscopic surgery.  I feel grateful to see that [my supervising doctors] have trained me to perform these cases independently.  Lastly, I was very impressed with the Ethiopian residents.  They are smart and extremely well read.  Dr. Anderson’s knowledge and ability is impressive. Soddo Christian Hospital’s resources, though limited compared to the USA, provide an orthopedic mecca for the Ethiopian residents here.  I’m hopeful that the partnership with UCLA/OIC can continue to bring US residents with different interests to Ethiopia where we can learn from Dr. Anderson and the residents—and give back however we can.”


Seeking Missionary Teacher for Preschool, Kindergarten, and Home-school Support

The Hodges and Yates Families are seeking some home school support.

  • Do you have a heart for kids?
  • are you interested on living overseas?
  • are you ready to see God use you, in ways you did not expect?

Soddo Christian Hospital www.soddo.org is looking for a full time teacher for the 2018-2019 school year. We are seeking a teacher to participate in a rich learning environment for all the missionary children on campus. In Fall of 2018 this will include 8 children age 3-11 supported by one full time homeschooling mother and one additional teacher/helper as well as the working parents of two more families.

Primary Teaching responsibility:

Preschool for two children (age 3 and 4)

Kindergarten for 1 child (age 5)

Homeschool support for another family with 4 children age 3-11.

We are open to a variety of teaching strategies to share the load among the teachers and parents.

Candidate should love children and early education and be excited to live in a new culture. Candidate should be in good health and able to keep up with a group of active young kids.

Candidate should love Jesus Christ and desire to participate in the spiritual life of the children.

 

Work Expectation:

5 days per week, 5-7 hours per day

 

Terms:

The teaching position is a volunteer missionary experience. In country living costs are low.

Comfortable housing with electricity and internet will be provided.

Commitment should be 9-12 months starting August or September 2018


Miner's TB

For almost six months, Kefyalow has been receiving care at our hospital. Barely in his 30’s, this nine-year veteran of the gold mines in the Sidamo Region was brought to Soddo Christian Hospital by his family because he was struggling to breathe. Even though Kefyalow’s family had long ago depleted their meager resources obtaining health care in his hometown of Humbo, 25 km from Soddo, it was torture watching their loved one cough and slowly suffocate at home. Desperate for help, praying for relief, they brought him to us.

Unfortunately, Kefyalow has silicosis, an irreversible lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica.  One of the nicknames of this condition is “Miner’s TB.” His lungs are so severely scarred from inhaling particulates of this toxic mineral that he cannot breathe without intranasal oxygen. We’ve tried. He’s tried. But the verdict is clear – Kefyalow must have supplemental oxygen to live.

Kefyalow is young. He has a wife. He has a daughter, age 5, and a son, age 1. Every day he is in the hospital, he is separated from the people who love him and need him the most. He may have a terminal disease, but he has a lot of living and loving and teaching left to do. He longs to be at home, but his life is tethered to a 130-lb oxygen cylinder next to his bed at the hospital.

But there’s a solution! You can partner with us to purchase a portable oxygen concentrator and generator for Kefyalow’s use at home. The total cost is $3,000. If you would like to help this young father return home to his family, then please make a contribution to our Patient Care Fund today.

Kefyalow says “Thank you and may God bless you.”


Seeking Missionary Teacher for Preschool, Kindergarten, and Home-school Support

The Hodges and Yates Families are seeking some home school support.

 

 

 

  • Do you have a heart for kids?
  • are you interested on living overseas?
  • are you ready to see God use you, in ways you did not expect?

Soddo Christian Hospital www.soddo.org is looking for a full time teacher for the 2018-2019 school year. We are seeking a teacher to participate in a rich learning environment for all the missionary children on campus. In Fall of 2018 this will include 8 children age 3-11 supported by one full time homeschooling mother and one additional teacher/helper as well as the working parents of two more families.

Primary Teaching responsibility:

Preschool for two children (age 3 and 4)

Kindergarten for 1 child (age 5)

Homeschool support for another family with 4 children age 3-11.

We are open to a variety of teaching strategies to share the load among the teachers and parents.

Candidate should love children and early education and be excited to live in a new culture. Candidate should be in good health and able to keep up with a group of active young kids.

Candidate should love Jesus Christ and desire to participate in the spiritual life of the children.

 

Work Expectation:

5 days per week, 5-7 hours per day

 

Terms:

The teaching position is a volunteer missionary experience. In country living costs are low.

Comfortable housing with electricity and internet will be provided.

Commitment should be 9-12 months starting August or September 2018


Another Miracle

Dr Michelle Yates writes:

"Sometimes we have those days or experiences that drastically change the way we think of life. Sometimes I’m aware enough to realize it, and other days I’m too dense to see what is right in front of me. An encounter with a special family has rocked my faith and my medical world view.

This story has two unique parts, the medical amazement and the personal story. As a human being we cannot disconnect the two, but let me tell it as it was revealed to me.

A 12-year-old boy from a rural area of Ethiopia (12-15 hours transport to get to Soddo) arrives nearly comatose, unable to sit, unable to move his entire right side, unable to eat, barely able to speak. He had a fever and a rigid neck. He had signs of increased pressure in his brain.  I couldn’t do a lumbar puncture to confirm my suspicion of meningitis and our CT scanner, the only within 3 hour drive, was not working. He had already been on IV antibiotics for 2 weeks and didn’t get any better. His father, in desperation, brought him to our hospital traveling 2 days on a bus. I changed his antibiotics, gave him some steroids, waited for our CT scanner to be fixed and prayed. I treated him for a possible brain abscess, a complication of meningitis, but knew the entire time it could all be from aggressive cancer. Problems with import paperwork kept our CT scanner down for another 10 days.

He got a little better with medications, but I still wasn’t sure exactly what I was treating. When I finally got the CT scan of his head, we saw the very large brain abscess. It was the biggest I had ever seen. I tried to convince the dad to go see the neurosurgeon many hours away, but he said he could not, he had used all the money he had to get him to our hospital. So I discussed the case with our general surgery team, and they thought they could try to place a drain into the brain through a hole drilled in the skull to remove the infection and give the medicine a chance to work. By the grace of God, the procedure was a success and with no complication the infectious abscess was all drained! What a miracle. We continued his IV antibiotics for another 6 weeks and all his symptoms were gone, except a little bit of scarring in his eye. It was such a blessing to be a part of his recovery. The family is very poor and his hospital care was paid for by our benevolence fund supplied by generous donations. Without this financial support, this boy would have died.

But this is only half the story. I heard little bits here and there throughout his hospital stay, but the day before discharge we gathered to give this boy a going away party with Coke and popcorn and cookies. Our staff needs to celebrate the wins in our department. As in any good Ethiopian party, there were lots of speeches. The dad thanked our pediatric team for our care and went on to tell his story from his perspective.

He tells us that his son is the light of his life. 12 years ago, when he was 1 month old, his mother died suddenly and tragically. This single event earned this boy the title gefee, “the child that pushed his mother out” or more bluntly, “the mother killer”. In his culture, these children are often hated by the family, and sometimes in certain areas killed and buried with their mother. Despite this title of hatred given him at only 1 month of age, his father loved him. Because of his love for his son, this father was outcast from his family and his town. He had just lost his wife, and now had lost his community. He had to live on the edge of town and scrape by to get him enough food for him and his infant son because formula milk and cow’s milk is very expensive. The dad told us that this young boy barely left his side for years because others around him would give him a difficult time. Against cultural stigma and grief, this dad loved and protected his child.

In the middle of his speech, this father falls to his knees and cries out asking God for forgiveness, forgiveness for his unbelief. He tells us that after a few days in the hospital, he went to our hospital bathrooms and wept. He has no money. His treasured son is so sick. He has lost everything to have this boy, and now he has used the last of his savings for nothing. He will have to carry home a dead body. He was asking God where he would get the money to pay for the transport of the dead body home. He tells us that God called back to him and told him to stand up and to come to his throne of grace, undeserved grace. He tells us that it was that day (7 weeks before) we placed his son on our benevolence fund and now his son is walking home. He cried out again to thank God for his mercy and grace and asked once again for forgiveness for his lack of faith that God could heal his son and give him all the money he needed.

As I listened to his story, I was simply struck by the extreme hardship faced by this young boy and his family. I was so thankful that we could love him well at our hospital. Simply put, This is why we are here. I was also convicted. How often do I ask God for miraculous healing of my patients, myself, my friends or family? Do I repent when I lack faith for his healing touch? How often do I forget to trust God to cover all my financial needs? Do I cry out to Him when I feel I am at the end of my capacity? Do I truly believe that he will give everything he promises?

Because of this father and son I am forever changed.