Archive for February, 2011

CURE Kenya Opens Disability-Accessible Play Ground and Orthopedic Workshop

In 1998, CURE International, in cooperation with the African Inland Church, opened the AIC CURE International Children’s Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya. The facility was Africa’s first orthopedic / pediatric teaching hospital for physically disabled children. The hospital provides care for children suffering from clubfoot, cleft lip and cleft palate, curvature of the spine and disabilities stemming from polio, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and other congenital abnormalities.

The opening of the new AIC CURE Play Ground and Orthopedic Workshop was successfully undertaken during a colorful ceremony on Saturday, 19 February 2011. The Chief Guest was the the German Ambassador to Kenya, Her Excellency Margit Hellwig-Boette. Accompanying her was a representative for Staedler Company Germany, who donated pencils to the hospital patients, as well as students from two schools from the Kijabe Region. Other guests included the CEO of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, representatives from Johanniter, the Safaricom Foundation, and various government officials and NGO partners.The Ambassador was impressed with the AIC CURE Facility and was among the last visitors to depart after taking another tour of the playground and visiting the ENT House to see the magnificent view of the Rift Valley.

CURE Clubfoot in Cambodia

CURE Clubfoot Cambodia has been working to eliminate clubfoot in that country since 2007. The years of hard work are paying off: in their current medical training program, 45 health care professionals from provinces around the country are participating, learning how to permanently correct clubfoot without surgery. What is even more encouraging is the presence of government officials and workers from other NGOs like the International Red Cross, Handicap International, and World Vision.

The inagural program was chaired by Prof. Chhour Y Meng, Director of National Pediatric Hospital, while Dr Prak Piseth Raingsey, Head of Healthcare programs for the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia inaugurated the training. In her inaugural speech, Dr. Raingsey assured full support to recognize the work of CURE Clubfoot Cambodia.

CURE Cambodia Event ParticipantsCURE Cambodia Clubfoot Event

CURE Hydrocephalus and Tom’s Story

CURE Hydrocephalus, an initiative of CURE International, was spawned by the encouraging results achieved through CURE Children’s Hospital of Uganda. CURE-Uganda opened in 2000, and since then, over 4,000 surgeries have been performed and ten surgeons (from nine different countries) have been trained for a single goal: addressing hydrocephalus. Through the combined efforts of this treatment and training, over 5,000 lives have been saved.

Based upon expert estimates, the world sees at least 300,000 new cases of hydrocephalus each year in children less then 1 year of age. Unfortunately, these estimates are most likely low. CURE is committed to doing all we can to treat those children afflicted with this condition, understand the causes for hydrocephalus and training others in the most modern and effective techniques.

CURE Hydrocephalus is an internationally collaborative initiative. Its roots grow from 2000, when Dr. Ben Warf, a renown pediatric neurosurgeon, moved his wife and six children to Mbale, Uganda to serve as CURE-Uganda’s first medical director. Through rigorous research and analysis, Dr. Warf developed a novel and efficacious approach for the treatment of hydrocephalus: endoscopic third ventroscopy combined with choroid plexus cauterization or ETV/CPC for short, a shunt-less technique which creates a pathway for the spinal cord fluid through a ventricle at the base of the skull. He tirelessly pursued better methods of treatment because although a shunt is appropriate for certain cases, a shunt can become clogged and it’s failure can be life threatening, especially in developing world settings. Dr Warf’s research is well documented in peer-review journals, and he instituted a training program for surgeons. As a result of this effort, one of his first graduates, Dr. John Mugamba, a Ugandan pediatric neurosurgeon fellowship trained in South Africa, was able to succeed Dr. Warf in 2006, continuing both the patient care and surgeon training.

Other surgeons, researchers and individuals like Dr. Steve Schiff of Penn State University bring their expertise in analysis to help determine the causes for post infection hydrocephalus and how best to prevent those infections. Dr. Schiff is a member of the medical advisory board for CURE Hydrocephalus assisting Dr. Warf, now with Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, in his leadership role as senior medical director. I, Jim Cohick bring my background of healthcare administration, work with CURE International’s earliest hospitals, with CURE’s clubfoot program, serve as executive director for CURE Hydrocephalus.

Each year CURE Hydrocephalus plans to steadily increase capacity to address more cases of hydrocephalus. We learned many useful lessons from CURE-Uganda which are integral parts of an on-going solutions:

  1. Provide care coordinators for pre- and post-operative interactions with families of patients
  2. Create conduits for receiving prompt technical vendor assistance
  3. Maintain a robust database environment for gathering data, reporting, and learning
  4. Create and foster collegial collaborations between surgeons from the west and the developing world.

So far we are very encouraged by the strong interest of government agencies and larger capacity funders to fund work showing measurable evidence of saving lives. A recent article out of Harvard estimates that close to 2billion people throughout the world – mostly in developing world settings – have little or no access to surgical care. Our ability to treat and train for caring for hydrocephalus is catching the attention of those concerned about doing life saving work reaching more people through expert medical and surgical care.

Our motivation is only increased by the stories our patients and their families share about their journey to find help to combat this condition. Tom’s story is uplifting and heartening about how the good work at CURE-Uganda not just healed him, but literally saved his life.

Check out his story.

Meet Tom from CURE Video

CURE Zambia’s First Neuro Clinic for 2011

Dr. Kachinga Sichizya, CURE Zambia consultant neurosurgeon

Since opening its doors in early 2007, CURE Zambia has had orthopedic and neuro clinics on a weekly basis.  This year was no exception.  Last Tuesday CURE Zambia medical staff assessed and reviewed nearly fifty patients from all over Zambia!

“This is by far the largest neuro clinic we’ve done since the hospital opened,” said Dr. Kachinga Sichizya, CURE Zambia’s consultant neurosurgeon, “we had a line up of patients all the way around the building!”

CURE Zambia neuro clinic examines and assesses patients with ailments ranging from hydrocephelus, spina bifida, cerebral palsy and problems having to do with the spine.  Dr. Sichizya has just returned from a month long training course in England with some of the finest spinal surgeons in the United Kingdom.  Dr. Sichizya is hoping that with this training, he and the rest of the medical staff at CURE Zambia can better care for children and private patients suffering from serious spinal injuries and illnesses.

“We want to expand our care and our expertise,” said Dr. Sichizya, “CURE Zambia is one of the top pediatric hospitals in Zambia and want to continue on that path.”

Mead Minutes: A new clinic and a visit from the German Ambassador

Good morning from Kenya!! Today the sky is clear after a full moon reigned the night. Last Sunday we saw a wide variety of weather. I wrote about the thin, patchy clouds with black holes that dominated the sky initially. After sending the note, it was still quite early so I went back outside. As I sat to enjoy the dawn, the sky became very dark. The temperature dropped quickly. A thick fog surrounded the house, obscuring all views. What happened to the sun? I headed in to clean up. At church sunshine intermittently entered the windows and the fog disappeared. Later in the day thick, dark clouds descended and rain came to Kijabe! We were thrilled. At first the clouds teased the land with spurts lasting mere minutes. Finally a good pouring watered the fields. Maybe our fire risk will decrease. Read the rest of this entry »

CURE Zambia – A Day In Pictures

As the person charged with telling the stories from CURE Zambia, I occasionally take out my camera and let the pictures do the talking.

Here’s a day from life in the hospital at CURE Zambia.

Sophie’s Story: CURE’s mission in Haiti

Recently, the folks here at the CURE HQ had the great opportunity to talk with Phil Hudson.  Phil is CURE’s Director of Haiti Relief, who is working diligently on the ground in Haiti.   He and his team, have had an amazing impact in Haiti through CURE’s relief surgical teams and grief counseling program.  While he was here, we invited Phil into our studio to tell us a little bit about the amazing work God is doing through CURE Haiti as well the personal story of Sophie, a Haitian national who’s life was changed through these programs.   Check out the video.

Sophie’s Story from CURE Video.

And what about my CUREkids gift?

In the previous blog post, we talked about some of the causes of why children or families will (on occasion) not show up for a scheduled surgery and what CURE does to try to prevent that.

You can read all about that here.

In this post, I’ll address the issue of the effect on you – as a CUREkids donor – when the child you’re supporting doesn’t show up to receive the care you helped provide.

So what about my CUREkids gift now?

Alfed John
Here’s a real-world scenario
You respond to the need of Alfed John, a 6-year-old boy from Malawi through the CUREkids program and give a gift to fund his treatment.
For whatever reason, Alfed didn’t show up for his treatment as scheduled. (by the way, we still believe Alfed will show up)
Your logical question is, “So now what happens to my gift meant to help Alfed?”

Clearly, we have a dilemma. Fortunately, we are prepared with answers and solutions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why would a child not show up for surgery?

Alfed JohnEditor’s Note: Last week, one of the CUREkids scheduled for treatment at CURE Malawi, Alfed John, didn’t arrive as scheduled for his surgery. Our team on the ground in Malawi still believes that Alfed and his family will in fact show up for treatment – Lord-willing, this week – but this circumstance prompted both a question and an opportunity to understand better the reasons why this happens.

Stated bluntly: If CURE is providing a life-changing opportunity for this child and his family, why in the world would anyone not show up?

In response, our Malawi CUREkids Coordinator, Virginia Guerrero, went in search of answers to try to explain some of the key obstacles for these kids and their families. Some of the answers may surprise you.

In a followup story, we’ll explain how we at CURE handle the impact on you – the donor – in the CUREkids program when the child you gave to doesn’t receive treatment.

Why would someone miss the most important appointment of their life?

Here at CURE Malawi, we offer some of the best services for treatable conditions in the entire country. So the question we sometimes ask ourselves is why then do some people miss their scheduled appointments? Or why they don’t return on the date of their admission or continue treatment before they’re cured? In any hospital or place that provides health care these situations come up – people skip doctor’s appointments all the time – but here in Malawi the reasons are very different.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mead Minutes: Fire in Kijabe

Good morning from Kenya!! I awoke quite early today for some reason. I was able to wander around the back yard and then moved a chair and quilt outside to enjoy the morning. The sky was mottled by wispy patches of moving clouds. The clouds seem to join and disperse, revealing black patches of sky underneath. Stars provided sharp points of light within the black holes. The air had a strange burnt aroma, coupled with a faint suggestion of moisture — but more about that later. Read the rest of this entry »