Saturday, April 03, 2021

Março Mulheres!

March was International Women's Month. To celebrate here in Kalukembe, the hospital offered 3 days of free prenatal consults and ultrasounds. We did in tandem a day focussing on obstetric fistula prevention, with a public health team coming to visit from Lubango to give talks at the hospital, in the patient villa and at the nursing school. This was funded in part by Hope for Our Sisters, a wonderful nonprofit out of the States that has partnered with us in fistula prevention over the years. Also, through the Fistula Foundation, Priscila has performed fistula repairs for 23 patients to date this year. Obstetric fistula care remains free here and we are still only one of four sites in the country that offer this care. Unfortunately, public awareness for healthy pregnancies and fistula care remain very low; so we are very happy to have welcomed this public health team. Fistula Foundation is an incredible organization that enables us to offer free care to women who suffer from fistulas and has supported us since 2015. And, of course, thank YOU, without whom we would not be here! Thank you for joining with us in bringing the character of Christ to the women of our community in Kalukembe!

First morning of free prenatal ultrasounds. Masks were worn. . . social distancing was difficult to enforce!

Fistula prevention group on right at the beginning of their talk with some of the pregnant mothers
The fistula prevention team came over for lunch before they continued their full day with a talk at the nursing school. Lots of education!

Zeke and Julio with their newest project--an old bathtub reappropriated to be a fish tank (and gets the added bonus to be a breeding ground for mosquito larvae! Fear not, Zeke tells us, the fish love to eat the larvae--and they have kept pace thus far).  
In gratitude to the woman of our family: Priscila. She is here with one of our neighbor's sons on one of the arts and crafts afternoons she organizes. Thank you for your amazing, generous heart! 
Just a reminder of what our hospital beds often look like. This is a "before" picture
Now this is an "after" picture, though this one is our re-finished surgical table mattress. It took a number of months, but after procuring the right type of material, the hospital is finally "re-covering" their mattresses. Perhaps not the most exciting thing to share about, but it's a huge moral, emotional and physical help to our patients that they can lie on a mattress not soaked in the urine, feces and blood of many others before them. Such a matter we probably take for granted where we are from. We hope some day the same thing will be said here!
Priscila teaching Tio Pereira, one of our surgical technicians, how to perform a fistula repair. It's great to multiply the blessing of fistula care with our teammates here!