Yehone, "his name means, "Let it be"

Yehone is a newborn baby at Soddo Christian Hospital. “Let It Be” is the meaning of his name, but that is an impossible task for his young mother and grandmother, both of whom anxiously await the outcome of a surgery on which they’ve just been debriefed. Yehone’s family has traveled to Soddo from their local hospital 50 kilometers away. His grandmother explains that Yehone is the first-born child of her daughter, who is young, fatherless, and recently married. The tiny child in her arms is the prize of this family. Twenty days after his birth, Yehone’s family knew that he was fatally ill, with a distended stomach and unrelenting vomiting. They sought diagnoses and treatment at the hospital nearest them, but did not have enough money to pay for the child’s care. They were sent to Soddo Christian Hospital, where a Benevolence Fund will help pay for life-saving treatment they cannot afford. Yehone’s family used everything they had to make it to the hospital in Soddo. Today, Yehone will undergo an operation to heal the root of his illness - an intestinal malrotation.

Dr. Michelle explains to the mother and grandmother the need for this operation, assuring them that God has already protected their child, that his life today is reason to give thanks to God, and that we must continue to entrust the child’s care to God through prayer. Ayellech, a hospital chaplain, is in the room to pray for the baby and family. The women are both timid, they are afraid of the surgery and do not believe their precious one will make it through; “He is so small,” what if he does not wake up? The gnawing, clenching feeling of fear is evident on the women’s faces. Ayellech places her hands on the child and his mother, and prays powerfully for the baby’s life. When the prayer finishes, she does not stand up and walk away. She holds the mother’s shoulder and asks, “Why did you not say ‘Amen?’” Do you not know that God is good? The women look worried, but they know that this is their hope, that they must put their trust in the doctors here to save their child; it is through the faith and evangelism of the staff that they are led instead to put their faith in God. “God is the only physician who can save this baby,” Dr. Yates explains before she prays for the family, “So we must pray.”

“God has given us an opportunity to share the gospel here…to people who come from all corners and all tribes of Ethiopia,” explains Tesfaye, another hospital chaplain, “I cannot share the gospel more anywhere else.”

Soddo Christian Hospital provides more than physical healing, but it is only through the lifesaving care of the doctors that this opportunity arises.

When Yehone’s family arrived at Soddo, they had spent everything they had on transportation to the hospital. They had nothing left to pay for treatment.

The Benevolence Fund is currently very short of funds.  We used $113,000 to fund Benevolence Patients in 2016, wiping out our reserves.

For Yehone and his family, the hospital’s reserve Benevolence Fund (which has been set aside for pregnant mothers) is being re-allocated to cover the surgery and medicine costs for Yehone, in addition to food for his mother and grandmother. Because of this resource, Yehone and his family will remain in the hospital while he undergoes treatment; they will be in the care of the hospital’s doctors, nurses, and chaplains, who will continue to share with them the love of Christ, and the hope of new life given by Jesus.

There is now an immense need to replenish the hospital’s Benevolence Fund, which in the past has been lifesaving to hundreds of patients – thanks to the generosity of donors. This is a major resource to provide opportunities for the staff to serve the poor; it is the means through which Soddo Christian Hospital shares the gospel with those who both need and desire it the most.

With your donation, Soddo Christian Hospital can continue to provide this much-needed care and hope to the neediest in Ethiopia. Will you help?

Yehone’s surgery was successful.  He is now recovering!  Thank you God!

 

You can give online at:

https://www.soddo.org/donate/


Doctor helps at-risk women

Dr. Mark Karnes likens the work he does to a well-known Christian proverb: "Teach a man to fish, and you've fed him for a lifetime."

Both as a Christian and an OB/GYN, he hopes to achieve a lasting impact in Ethiopian health care by treating at-risk women and instructing other medical professionals there.

The 1967 Heath High School graduate grew up "right on the McCracken and Ballard County line," eventually moving to Cameroon for five years as a medical missionary after his internship. Karnes said he again "felt called" to Africa with his wife, Allison, after 25 years of practicing in Michigan.

The couple returned to Paducah in April for a funeral and to visit with family. While in town, he spoke with The Sun about his medical career overseas.

Since 2010 Mark has been on-call "24 hours a day, seven days a week" at the 140-bed Soddo Christian Hospital in the Wolaitta region of southern Ethiopia.

"Christ first healed people, then taught them," Mark said. "Part of our work is (also) training African doctors in the field of surgery, so they'll be able to carry on.

"It's one thing to do a caesarean section myself to save the life of a mother and child, but to teach (another) how to do the same operation is a great thing."

Initially he was one of two OB/GYNs for a population of roughly 2.5 million. Three others have arrived to the region since then.

"When (my wife and I) first went to Ethiopia, 94 percent of women delivered at home without a health care professional," he said. "I'd say that number is probably 60 percent now."

Despite progress, both Mark and Allison said issues remain.

While the Ethiopian government has encouraged more medical schools and training, Mark said many native physicians graduate only to work abroad.

Cases of uterine prolapse and molar pregnancies -- where an undeveloped fetus causes harm to the mother -- also threaten the well-being of his patients.

"We've lost patients simply from lack of blood," he said. "In the states I never lost a patient or a mother from that, but in Ethiopia it's a different world."

Allison credited the Ethiopian government for a "substantial difference," saying the Wolaitta region has expanded to a university of about 15,000 students and a medical school.

"I give them a tremendous amount of credit, because they really want to improve the system there," Allison said. "You're seeing health care in the country (also) really begin to improve."

She's brought her own cause to the region as director of WRAPS -- Washable, Reusable, Affordable Pads -- a nonprofit providing clean sanitary pads and access to education for Ethiopian schoolgirls. Her organization addresses hygiene, menstruation, staying in school and overcoming disadvantages.

"(Mark and I) both have a passion for changing the lives of women in Ethiopia," Allison said. "I see injustices there done to women -- forced marriage, rape -- and it's a horrific system for rural schoolgirls.

"The government is striving hard to change that, but in the rural areas it's still far behind."

Allison added the country's road system in rural areas has improved greatly -- aiding the work they do.

"I used to have (patients) walk three hours to the road, then take a taxi for hours to get to me," Mark said. "I think it's gotten better."

Visit soddo.org to see about potential ways to get involved. Mark and Allison Karnes also host a blog at soddospecialdelivery.org.

S


Radiology via RadConnect University of Alabama

Situation

 

Opened in 2005, Soddo Christian Hospital is a 139-bed, full-service facility serving Wolaita – a lush agricultural region in southern Ethiopia where corn, wheat, barley and other flora are harvested for export. While geographically stunning, Wolaita is one of Ethiopia’s more populated and impoverished regions within a country already considered one of the world’s poorest. This causes many to seek opportunity in the cities, making it difficult for Soddo Christian Hospital (and all health care providers in this area) to attract and retain qualified support. Rural Ethiopia also means supply chain issues, power outages, and limited systems support. As difficult as this sounds, the Ethiopian health care system has successfully adapted to scarcity by allocating what they have.

Regarding radiology, Soddo Christian Hospital boasts the only CT scanner in the entire southern half of Ethiopia, creating a massive and on-going reliance for scans and interpretation. Unfortunately, its lone part-time radiologist could not manage the full-time patient load, which led to an agreement with the University of Alabama to help with offsite reads. Soddo Christian Hospital first tried Dropbox, but the process was extremely cumbersome. Installing a remote DICOM archive through a VPN eliminated the security issue, but the burden on techs remained. Plus, network errors, timeouts, overloads, and bandwidth problems remained. Bottom line, it was slow, finicky, and extremely unreliable.

Solution

RadConnect, the cloud-based medical image-sharing SaaS solution developed by NucleusHealth, makes collaboration easier for everyone – physicians, technicians, administrators, and patients. When supporting technology is fast, secure, accurate, accessible, robust, and simple to use, all involved are better prepared to provide and receive outstanding care. For Soddo Christian Hospital, RadConnect represented a cost-effective way to do more reads. Leveraging its long-standing relationship with US-trained, Board-Certified radiologists at UAB, RadConnect’s web-based technology simply plugged into both systems using their browsers and web-enabled devices. Rather than patching into complex, often incompatible legacy systems, Soddo Christian Hospital now sends and receives their diagnostic imaging files and reports at the touch of a button. Offsite reads are now dependable and streamlined.

Results

Fantastic. Virtually 100% uptime with a limitless ability to instantly send and receive large studies. RadConnect’s intuitive user-interface made it simple for techs to upload images and send to its radiology partner in Alabama. In terms of clinical value, Soddo Christian Hospital recently admitted a 4-month-old female patient suffering from persistent ophisthotonus (spinal spasms and arching) with a history of seizures. Initial diagnosis included tetanus and meningitis, but treatment was not working. A CT scan showed a meningeal enhancement, but not an abscess. Through RadConnect and their partners at UAB, Soddo Christian Hospital isolated the issue and developed the treatment plan, including a very tricky lumbar puncture – all to great success. Culture results clearly showed which antibiotic protocol to administer and the patient was released in 21 days, free of all symptoms! The infant’s mother cried upon discharge and said, “We had lost hope and thought we were going to take her home to die. You have restored our hope and our joy.” RadConnect provides Soddo Christian Hospital a way to improve patient care in rural Ethiopia. If RadConnect can do this for resourcelimited missionary hospitals in rural Africa, imagine how it could help hospitals and health care systems throughout the United St.ates!

Value to Soddo Christian Missionary Hospital • Simple, intuitive, and easy-to-use. • Extremely problem-free. Virtually 100% uptime with all upgrades announced in advance. • Works across all platforms including desktops, laptop, tablets and mobile devices. • Instant access and image-sharing among physicians, clinics, hospitals. • Bandwidth issues non-existent. Image files of all sizes transfer instantly. • Increased patient satisfaction due to better diagnoses and treatment.


A gift from a recent visitor, new mural in the Pediatric department

thor simpson psalms smallkja 139

You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

Psalms 139:13 & 14

Thor Simpson, the brother of SCH Missionary Taylor Simpson, recently spent part of his visit painting this beautiful mural and faithfully transcribed Psalms 139 into Amharic.


National Maternal Mortality rate has been cut in half!

Nate-and-Sherly-PicMonkey-Collage

We have had some wonderful success stories as well with the delivery of one mother six weeks early who also had preeclampsia but has gone home with a live baby. Dr. Ross has been a Godsend to us. We also have a new GP, named Dr. Sifora. She has spent the past month with me in OB and has been a wonderful asset to me. She is a recent graduate of medical school in the Philippines and would like to become an OB/GYN in the future. Dr. Sheryl Ross has her PhD in leadership and has been giving leadership training to our nursing, administration and chaplain staff.

We are very grateful that Dr. Nate Ross, an OB/GYN from Alabama, and his wife Sheryl are spending this month helping us out.


You know you’re a missionary in Africa when . . .

We’re guessing that some of you reading this were probably fans of the Late Show with David Lettermen. Each Late Show would end with a goofy “top ten” list (“Ten Reasons that Captain Kangaroo should be president of the United St.ates, that sort of thing). As part of our newsletter today, we’ve decided to do our own top ten list. Well, actually it’s a top eight list, because we felt like ten was a little too long-winded. So today we proudly present to you “Eight Ways to Know You’re A Missionary in Africa.”

We find humor, beauty and faith-building in everything you’re about to read on this list. We hope that it gives you, our faithful friends and supporters, a little bit of a behind-the-scenes peek into what life is like on the African mission field.

And now without further adieu, you know you’re a missionary in Africa when:

De-worming isn’t just for your dog. It’s true! Twice a year, every member of the Canfield family takes a yummy little pill that kills off any “friends” our intestines might have picked up (the pill has no side effects). Thankfully, the medicine has worked and we haven’t had any unwanted stomach visitors yet. But worms in Ethiopia are fairly easy to get from fruit and contaminated food. So the next time you pick up worm medicine for your pet, you think can think of us.

Potato chips are one of your most valued treasures. We won’t lie – when we lived in the US, Trader Joe’s potato chips were one of our favorites. No Trader Joe’s here. Sometimes at one of the tiny local stores here we can find a brand of chips called Mr. Potato. They’re basically the African version of Pringles chips, complete in a tall, slender can. When we do find a can of these, the celebration that follows would make you think we just won the lottery. But no, we’re just really excited about a bit of highly processed fat and salt.

Candles aren’t decorations. The power goes out here. A lot. Usually a few times a day. Our longest stretch with no power was four months, as we shared in our last newsletter. So we’ve gotten used to eating, reading,washing dishes, etc. by the light of candles. We were so blessed to have one of our friends and supporters in Oregon send us a gift of a new portable generator for our house. We can get gas to run it a few hours a day during the bad power outages. But our eyes have developed a somewhat cat-like ability to see in the dark.

Your definition of “clean” changes (dramatically). Between power outages and water shortages, showers can be a rarity, especially during the dry season. Jackson and Oliver actually love this, as they’ve never been really big big fans of bathing.

Bugs and reptiles in your house don’t bother you. The variety of animals in Africa is absolutely stunning. There are so many small creatures here that look like they stepped out of a psychedelic dream. The catch is that many of them crawl, fly or slither into our house on a regular basis. It’s not uncommon to grab a dish off the shelf and find a striped lizard sleeping underneath. Or to step out of bed in the morning and disturb a horned beetle slowly making its way across the floor. There’s no way to keep them out, so for the most part we just laugh and admire them (although Brad was not a fan of the black tarantula in our kitchen).

Your morning commute involves dodging donkeys. There’s nothing like traffic in Africa. It’s perhaps comparable to driving through a massive, out-of-control circus – fascinating, amusing and sometimes alarming. Every time we drive from our house to the hospital, we swerve around packs of donkeys (far more numerous than cars), chickens, goats, three-wheeled bajaj taxis, and oceans of people. We praise God after every drive that we didn’t hit anyone or anything.

You take “coffee snob” to a whole new level. In our biased opinion, east Africa produces the best coffee in the world, and Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of coffee. Back in our home state of Oregon, there’s a coffee shop called Stumptown is that at the epi-center of the “coffee snob” culture. The kind of place where people in plaid shirts sit around sipping $10 cups of joe and commenting about “floral notes.” Well, the folks at Stumptown can only dream of sitting on a terrace overlooking the mountains of Ethiopia, drinking coffee that was grown and roasted about a mile down the road on a small farm, and slow-brewed in a jebena pot over a coal fire. The scenes that you see on the big posters in Starbucks, we get to live every day. What can we say, we’re proud of our adopted country!

You believe in miracles, because you see them happen all the time. As Christians living in the US, it was often easy for us to give lip-service to the idea that God works miracles, without fully believing it in our hearts. The blessings of modern medicine and the relative security of living in America often made super-natural intervention in our lives seem unnecessary. It’s different in Ethiopia. Miracles are how people survive here. There’s no rain for months for crops; so the people in our city hold an all-night prayer meeting, and the next day it pours (and the next and the next). Patients come to Soddo Christian Hospital with medical problems that should mean death, with conditions that should be incurable. Our staff pray for them (and also provide great care), and the patients walk out of the hospital healthy. Mysterious, massive tumors disappear. Horrible diseases evaporate into thin air. It’s easy to discount the supernatural when you don’t really need it. Our perspectives have been changed because we do need it. Every day.

Post by: Brad Canfield

/used by permission


Our generator needs an overhaul

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Surgery by Flashlight?
Soddo Christian Hospital

Flashlights are fine for picnics and camping, but electricity is crucial for a hospital. Our faithful Olympian/Caterpillar generator has over 7600 hours of running time since 2009. It currently needs a MAJOR overhaul. The cost will be about $9500. Will you consider making a one time donation gift to help with this project?

Donate Now

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions. All donations are 100% tax-deductible. info@soddo.org


The God of Ethiopia

This poem was written by a recent visitor to Soddo Christian Hospital. He wanted to remember his visit and this was the method God gave him for remembering his trip.

Where do we find God in Ethiopia,

Do we find Him in the bright, round eyes of a young boy in the hospital huddled close to his father?

Do we find Him in the quiet tears and prayers of a rounds team telling a patient he is going to die?

Do we find him in the tears of a young doctor fighting for a patient's eyesight and begging for God's providence?

Do we find Him in the sweet vespers hymns of a staff worn down by the cares of the day?

Do we find Him in the soft rain watering a thirsty land?

Yes, He is there!!

But He is also in the hearts of missionary men and women who have answered the call of God in their lives and given Him all they have.

And yes He is in the sweet minds and souls of those native Ethiopia's who have heard and heeded his call to salvation.

The God of Ethiopia permeates the heart and soul of the land.

Listen!

Hear His soft voice and footsteps all around you.


Celebrating God’s mercy and grace

Celebrating God’s mercy and grace

Celebrating God's Mercy and Grace

I know I always keep saying this, but seriously the cases I see here never cease to amaze me. Three weeks ago the ER called stating they had a pregnant mother critically ill and would I come right away to the OR because they were transferring her there. The story goes like this. Two weeks earlier she had seen a “native doctor/traditional healer” who had cut out her uvula. The uvula is that small appendage that hangs down the back of one’s throat. He had also cut out her tonsils. She had so much edema from this horrific procedure that her airway was being cut off and she could not breathe. She had been hospitalized at another hospital for seven days and her condition continued to worsen. They had not even realized at the other hospital that she was full term pregnant! The family moved her to SCH as their last hope. When I entered the OR and saw that her O2 saturation was very low and she was gasping for every precious breath, I did not hold out much hope that she could survive. On the OR table it was obvious that she was near term with a gravid uterus. We initially could not get a fetal heart rate but then with ultrasound I could see that the baby was still alive with a fetal heart rate of 50. The normal is 120-160. We had to act quickly if, at least, we could save the baby. Amazingly, Shewalul, our head nurse anesthetist, was able to intubate her and we delivered a lifeless little boy. Dr. David and Dr. Becky immediately worked on him for 25 minutes before they got a regular heartbeat. Then it took another 20 minutes before the baby started taking shallow breaths on his own. But he was still not out of the woods. Shortly afterwards he started seizing. Eventually he was placed on three seizure meds to control the seizures. Back to his mother…she survived the surgery but was not able to breathe without the help of a tracheotomy that was performed by Dr. Teddy, one of our PAACS surgeons. She was placed on steroids and antibiotics and slowly began to improve. She was in our ICU for 10 days. Her swelling eventually reduced and the tracheotomy was replaced with a smaller one and then later removed. She is now totally breathing on her own. Amazingly, both she and her baby boy went home this past week. To look at them both, it was like looking at a miracle. The baby did not appear to have any residual effects of his anorexia. All of the seizures have stopped and he looks like a normal baby boy. This is a true testament to God’s mercy and grace. –An update from Dr. Mark and Allison Karnes, October 2015


It was the best of times. It was the worst of times

Dear Friends and Family,
“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens, The Tale of Two Cities. At Soddo Christian Hospital it is the best of times…we must be doing something right for the hospital is maxed out. But this makes it the worst of times… because the hospital is maxed out! Last month we had 92 women giving birth at our hospital, a new record. On top of the maternity rate rising, our nursing and pediatric staff are overwhelmed with the many sick babies that are born here, as well as those sick infants that are delivered at health centers and by home birth and transferred here for care. These babies born outside our hospital are admitted along with their mother into our maternity department. They require antibiotics and intensive nursing care oftentimes for up to a week or more. These patients require a hospital bed and often times a private room for heat. We do not have a neonatal nursery. Some of our mothers have to be delivered early due to severe high blood pressure or severe hemorrhage. Currently we have two babies, one born 10 weeks early and the other 11. They will require a long hospital stay to survive. By the way, most of these babies that stay here for a long time are underwritten by our maternal benevolent fund. Many of you have been so gracious to contribute to this fund. In the past our mothers went home 6 hours after delivery, but now thanks to the good care they receive from Dr. Ayers, our pediatrician and our family doctor, Dr. Becky McClaren, our healthy babies stay a minimum of 24 hours before discharge. We have 15 postpartum, GYN surgery beds in the maternity ward…compared to 30 in the other wards. This is due to the fact that we have a labor room and a delivery room and two clinics operating in the same building.
With our increase in the numbers, we are simply busting out at the seams. We stuffed another bed into our already crowded three bed labor ward. The govt. has informed us that we need a minimum of six. I couldn’t agree more, but we have no space. We have two delivery tables side by side in our delivery room. One of them is our former Gyn exam table. It is now very common to have patients recovering from their surgeries lined up in beds down the hallway because there simply are no other beds or rooms available. We have a few private rooms but they remain full. Two weeks ago patient’s families were literally fighting in the hallway to be admitted into the only available private room.
On top of the maternity increase, our Gyn patient load is escalating. During our two Gyn clinic days, Monday and Thursday, it is not unusual for me to get home at 8 PM. We then have two full surgery days on Tuesdays and Friday with a make-up day on Wednesday. All this to say….It is the best of times (because we are growing) and the worst of times, (because we are overworked and out of space)! We are working on a creative plan to add more clinic space thus creating more bed space. St.ay tuned for the details! –An update from Dr. Mark and Allison Karnes, October 2015

Two recovering surgical patients in the overcrowded hallway in the OB ward
Patients in Hallway