Kibuye Pediatrics

 By Alyssa 

Pediatric team in front of our new building

So what's it like to be settled into the new peds building? We have now been in our new three-story pediatric building for 3 months, and it has made a huge difference for staff and patients. Last week we had 95 pediatric patients divided between the neonatology, inpatient malnutrition, and general pediatrics services. But since our new building includes 125 beds, we had plenty of space for everyone! Just a few months ago, that many patients would have meant mattresses on the floor or patients sharing beds. It makes such a difference having all the patients in one place, too. Before we had this building, our patients were spread out in four different buildings around the hospital campus, but now everyone is near which makes it easier to find help and supplies if a patient isn't doing well. 

As an example, I was in clinic 2 weeks ago when I received the following text from a medical student (my translation from French): "Bonjour, Doctor. The baby we discussed this morning is doing very badly and has a very distended abdomen with vomiting. I believe it is an emergency for this baby." The post-call team had mentioned the admission of this baby in our morning report discussion, so I knew he had a surgical problem that needed urgent attention. I stopped by the OR on my way and asked our capable surgeons if they could move this case up.  They said they could operate on him next and began preparing the room. On arriving at the patient's bedside, I found the medical student, nursing student, and nurse all ready to help. The baby was definitely as sick as the med student said - which is an important skill for which I congratulated the student later - recognizing a baby that needs immediate attention. Because there were so many staff and students easily accessible in our new building, we were quickly able to stabilize the baby with fluids, NG tube, oxygen (in-wall oxygen in every patient room!), etc. as well as to talk with the mother to explain the situation and pray with her. And within minutes the baby was on his way to the operating room where our surgeons fixed the problem and saved his life. This baby had been to three different hospitals in rural Burundi before coming to Kibuye - delays which nearly resulted in his demise - but thanks to a team effort and quick thinking on the part of the medical student, he went home with his happy and grateful mother (picture below). I think the hospital motto explains well how God brought about healing in this case and so many others that we see each day, "Dukorera Imana ikiza itanga ubugingo." Loose translation: "We work with God; He heals and gives life."

So being able to quickly walk up or down the stairs to the centrally located nursing stations and find help is a huge benefit of the new building as is having enough beds for every patient. Another benefit is the lighting and ventilation that makes rounds and patient care so much more pleasant for everyone. Before, nurses would need to bring patients outside to look for IVs in the sunlight, but now they have well lit treatment rooms and procedural areas where it's much easier to place IVs quickly and sterilely. And in a land where most people can't afford diapers, having well-ventilated rooms and tile floors that are easy to clean certainly improves the olfactory experience on rounds! 

Twins - they can still share a bed! But everyone else gets their own!

Aren't the patients seriously the cutest ever? Totally brings a smile on the long days when there are so many of them to see and so much work to do. 

But the patients would tell you that the best part of the new building is the playroom and the swing-set! As far as I know, this is the only hospital in Burundi with a play area for kids! The med students love bringing the children to play and sent me these pictures over the weekend. I love seeing their hearts of compassion for the patients even as they are learning more of the medical knowledge they need to care for them. 

One of our teachers had little white coats made for the children to play with so they wouldn't be so frightened by our white coats - they seem to like them!

What these pictures of cute children don't convey is that we have challenging days, too, as we care for the littlest Kibuye patients. Sometimes they have really sad outcomes or come from difficult situations. Many have severe malnutrition and the families struggle to find enough food or to bring them to the hospital in time. Yesterday we saw 100 (!) children with sickle cell disease which meant a long and exhausting day even as we sought to show them the love of Jesus as we gave them their medications and taught them more about this difficult and painful diagnosis. And this week we said goodbye to another doctor (in the dark red shirt in the picture below). He received an exciting promotion in Bujumbura, but it's a sad loss for our team and means we are now even more short-staffed. 

I was encouraged this week as I read and reflected on 2 Corinthians 4: "Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart." The whole chapter is brilliant and reminds me that though we do indeed face afflictions and human weakness, these point us to the "light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" and the "all surpassing power [that] belongs to God and not to us." One day we will fully experience the eternal weight of glory and all these transient struggles will be redeemed. Therefore, by God's mercy, we can persevere in heart, head, and hands each day as the Kibuye pediatric team while we wait for eternity. 


Unknown said...

Very nice .
We congratulate you on your work .
Kibuye hope hospital oyeeeee.
We have to be united in other to have a good development in our hospital.when we are united,no one is going to separate us.
Continue developing kibuye hope hospital .be blessed.oyeeeee

Unknown said...

Beautiful children. What a blessing you all are; a shining light. May God continue to smile upon your works.

Dave and Jaz said...

Hi Alyssa. This was wonderful to read. So good to have good news and see the building in operation. Blessings on you and the team. Dave Lambert