Archive for March, 2011

CURE Zambia Hosts Students From United Arab Emirates

UAE students visit CURE Zambia

CURE Zambia is always excited to receive visitors, but the hospital has truly been abuzz about our very special guests! After much preparation, CURE Zambia is finally hosting a delegation of 16 students from the United Arab Emirates this week.  This visit is part of the UAE/Zambia partnership of CURE hospitals.  Trey, Vice President of Patient Relations at Oasis Hospital in the UAE, organized this trip with Peter Kyalo, CURE Zambia’s Executive Director, and Imad Jarwah, one of the counselors at Al Ain’s Higher College of Technology.  ”We wanted to take the students on a humanitarian trip to a CURE hospital outside of the UAE to truly see the mission of the CURE network,” said Hulsey.  ”We want them to understand that the money the Oasis hospital generates in conjunction with their health benefits goes on to help underprivileged children in CURE hospitals worldwide.”

UAE students visit CURE ZambiaThe genesis of the is effort started with Peter Kyalo’s visit last year to the UAE.  On this trip, Peter met Trey and they began talking. At CURE International’s management conference in February, Trey and Peter put plans in motion.  ”We thought this would be a good idea for these students as it is the first time, for many of them, to travel outside of the Gulf region,” said Trey.  ”We wanted the students to interact with Christians as a way of breaking down barriers and prejudices that exist without good reason, to show them that we are more alike than we are different.  This cultural exchange is beneficial to both Muslims and Christians.”  Trey also told me that he is hopeful that this will become an annual project.

UAE students visit CURE ZambiaAfter talking to Trey, I ventured into the chapel where the students were busy reorganizing the complex CURE Zambia filing system.  The students will be giving their time and expertise to volunteer at the hospital.  They will help hospital staff with the patients in addition to other hospital duties.

UAE students visit CURE ZambiaI had the chance to ask some of the students a few questions about their experience in Zambia.  ”When you think about Africa you think of poor without good accommodations,” said Amal, an engineering student, “but we have been very comfortable here and we have been treated well.”  On Sunday, most of the students were taken to church — a first for all of them.  ”First of all, I respect all religions and I’m curious about other religions,” said Aysha.  ”I was surprised that at the church we attended  there was a lot of singing and clapping!  It was a very good experience!”   Personally, I think UAE students visit CURE ZambiaAhmed summed up the entire experience best when he shared his thoughts with me.  ”It’s really amazing to see a place like this in a poor country.  This hospital is treating poor people for free!  It is amazing and Zambia is an amazing place!”

The 16 students will be traveling to Livingstone later this week to take in some sightseeing.  They leave Zambia on April 2nd.

Staff Profile: Judy Obison, Matron at CURE Zambia

Judy Obison and nursesSome of the most interesting stories to come out of CURE Zambia are those of our dedicated and diligent staff. Recently, I sat down with Judy Obison, CURE Zambia’s hard working matron. I took particular interest in Mrs. Obison’s story because my mother is also a nurse, so I have a soft spot for women who practice nursing.

Judy Obison didn’t always want to be a nurse. “Originally, I wanted to be an engineer, but I knew that I would have to support myself to pay for the tuition.” Judy originally attended a vocational school where she got her Licensed Practical Nursing diploma, but still had the intention of becoming an engineer even though she developed a liking for the nursing profession. Judy decided to go to the US to complete her education, but after conferring with some of her relatives, Judy thought it best to continue her education in nursing. “I knew that if I got my engineering degree, I probably wouldn’t end up working as an engineer,” she said, “what’s more, most of the people I had met who were LPNs had been educated in other fields, so I thought I might as well continue in nursing.” Judy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Massachusetts.

Some years later, after having worked in the US for a number of years and having two children, Judy and her husband made the move back to Zambia. When she arrived in Zambia, she quickly got bored living as a housewife and wanted to get back to work. This is when her brother-in-law came to her and told her of a new hospital called CURE Zambia. “My brother-in-law said that I should send an application to this ‘new American hospital.’ I was excited to go and see what all the fuss was about!” Judy exclaimed. Judy rushed to the hospital and asked if she could get a tour of the facilities. She liked what she saw. “Everything was new and clean and all the equipment was up-to-date; I knew immediately that I wanted to work there.”

But things were not to go so smoothly. Judy ran into problems getting her nursing license from the General Nursing Council of Zambia. She noticed that it was difficult for foreign-educated Zambian nurses to get their licenses from the GNC. “This was incredibly frustrating because as a Zambian, I wanted to come back to my country and help improve the system, yet I was being deterred at every corner,” said Judy. In the end, it took Judy over a year to get her license from the GNC. After all that work she finally started work at CURE Zambia in January 2010.

Judy told me that she enjoys her work here at CURE Zambia and has also seen her employment with the hospital as an education. “When I was working in the US I mostly treated adults,” said Judy, “so pediatric care has been an eye opener.” Judy explained to me that dealing with the socio-economic issues surrounding patients and their families has been vastly different from the situations in the US. “We as CURE Zambia nursing staff have to educate parents on how to find resources for their sick children in the community, because not every village or town has a pharmacy or clinic,” explained Obison. Another challenge facing nurses in Zambia is the shortage of nurses. Some hospitals have 20 patients to 1 nurse! “I think nurses here need to be exposed to how other nurses practice,” said Judy, “this is why CURE Zambia has started the Nurse Exchange Program. It’s important that our nurses see that there are different and, sometimes, better ways to practice nursing.”

There are many things that Judy enjoys about working at CURE. “I love the care that we provide at CURE Zambia. We try our best to give hope to the patients and their parents. What I hate the most is that we are not able to help our patients as much as we like beyond the fence of CURE Zambia.”

After Judy spends what seems like endless hours managing the nursing staff at CURE Zambia, she likes to spend her spare time relaxing with her three young children and her husband, Jeffrey.

Finally, I asked Judy what she liked most about working at CURE Zambia, and she told me something that I found truly moving. “The vision that we have is really refreshing. We are giving the care to the needy and we are truly touching a lot of lives.”

Mead Minutes: Knowing who you are and where you are going

Greetings from the Great Rift Valley!! I am enjoying a changing view of the Rift as the rains have been stimulating growth all around. Light green squares mark fields of grass. Trees have a bristle of new leaves on the branches. The blackened field around the house is now a mosaic of greens, browns, and blacks. The birds are actively searching for tasty breakfast snacks throughout the new growth. A troop of baboons arrived Friday to finish my sugar cane and scour the gardens for other treats before retreating to the forest. Hopefully, as the foliage grows these visitors will search elsewhere for food; I would enjoy some of the lettuce I planted.

Some weeks little comes to mind as I sit contemplating what to write. Other weeks are memorable for the particular children we treat. Sometimes we travel around the country and I enjoy sharing these experiences. This week my letter will be different. I will share some of my thoughts regarding missions, CURE Kijabe, and my role here. Yawn! Ok, I know a lecture is not a morning topic, but bear with me to the end. I promise a surprise for you. Read the rest of this entry »

Junior in Spanish

Today after shooting some pics at the CURE Honduras hospital, Spiritual Director Aracely Castillo said that we were going to get in the car with CURE’s driver extraordinaire, Coto, and go see Junior. My response was – cool. This boy had a very dramatic before picture… very much like Isaias, so let’s go shoot his follow up story.

Junior from Honduras

On the way there, I asked – innocently enough – how do you say “Junior” in Spanish.
Aracely looked at me and said, “Junior.”

“Yes, Junior,” I say.

Silence…

Quizzical look on the dumb photographer’s face.

Fortunately, Aracely extricated us from this “Who’s On First” comedy routine by saying, “It is Junior in Spanish and English!” Live and learn.

So we go to see Junior and when we get there the first thing I see is a boy in a cast! Oops! So much for follow up. Unbeknownst to all of us, Junior had a complication while Aracely was out of town, and had to have his foot recast.

Junior from Honduras

So, these things don’t always work out the way you want, but this is a kid who had severe clubfoot and now his feet are straight. And now I have some great transition pictures of Junior, as well.

We’ll get the final after pics next time I’m back. And I’ll even be able to properly pronounce his name!

Meet Isaias

Meet Isaias from Honduras. He had clubfoot, but he was healed at CURE Honduras in San Pedro Sula.

And see how Isaias is doing lately in this followup video.

International Women’s Day in Afghanistan

Dr. Dalil and Senior Management TeamGifts for International Women\'s DayOperational Theater NursesJoe Davis-Fleming and Dr. Soraya Dalil

Women around the world celebrated the 100th year of International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March 2011. IWD was first recognized and celebrated as a holiday on 8 March 1911 in Austria. The day was created to honor hardworking women and create awareness of the injustices that women face everyday. The topics campaigned for at the very first IWD were women’s right to vote, equal places in the work force, the ability to hold public office, and the end of discrimination against women. Fast forward 100 years and there are women all over the world still fighting for these same issues. In Kabul, Afghanistan the battle is definitely still ongoing.

CURE International Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, celebrated International Women’s Day one day late, on the 9th of March 2011. We delayed our party so we could include a very honored and respected woman in Afghanistan, Dr. Soraya Dalil, Acting Minister of Public Health. About seven women from the hospital were actively involved in planning and organizing this event. Everyone on the planning committee had a wonderful time organizing the food, selecting gifts, and preparing days before with lots of wrapping and ribbon-making. There was a special invitation placed around the hospital that invited all the women of the hospital, including visiting trainees from other provinces, to join us in the cafeteria at 11:00am. As the women began to arrive, there was a lot of anticipation at whom the special guest would be and also excitement over the special gifts.

The cafeteria quickly filled with the women and everyone took their seats and waited for the program to begin. Dr. Soraya Dalil arrived and everyone was so excited to see that she would take time from her busy schedule and speak at our Women’s Day celebration. She took her seat and the program began. I did the opening welcome and began the introductions of our speakers. We had a lovely poem on Women’s Day by Nelofar, from our Pathology Department,  that really got everyone excited about the celebration. Next, Dr. Sofia Hail, our Attending OB/GYN doctor and graduate of our OB/GYN Fellowship Program, gave the history behind Women’s Day and introduced our special guest and her former classmate, Dr. Soraya Dalil.

Dr. Dalil spoke encouraging words to the women of our hospital. She included her own experience here at CURE and how she was in our hospital for 56 days and had a 28 week premature baby that was cared for in our NICU. She spoke with great tenderness about her time here and how special it was because now she has a 4 year old healthy daughter that she loves dearly. She spoke of the many challenges that face women in Afghanistan and talked of ways to improve the infant and maternal mortality rates that are so prevalent in this country. You could tell that she captivated every woman in the room, holding their attention until the very last word. The women applauded as she left the podium, and it was evident on their faces that her words touched them deeply.

Next, Joe Davis-Fleming presented Dr. Dalil with a special gift, a bouquet of flowers and a chadar (scarf), as a thank you from our hospital. He also spoke words of praise and endearment for the hardworking women in our hospital and in Afghanistan. Dr. Yousuf Khan, our Deputy Medical Director, blessed the women with words of empowerment using the Koran as his basis and challenged them to continue to seek rights and fair treatment because that is what they deserved. Dr. Azeeta Hadid, our Family Medicine Resident Graduate and current Family Heath Center Manager, also spoke of women taking leadership in their country and the rights of women.

At the conclusion of the wonderful and encouraging speeches, the women were individually served a catered lunch from a local restaurant. The food was a wonderful selection of Afghan specialties that included qabli pilau, chicken and beef kabobs, spinach, chips, naan, salad, and potatoes. The women were then each presented with a beautiful red rose and a wrapped gift of a chadar (scarf). The women enjoyed the nice lunch, fellowship, and laughter with each other.

As Dr. Dalil exited the ceremony, she requested to visit the Maternity and NICU wards to reminisce of her time with us. She commented on how different it was, because we have reconstructed both wards since she and her daughter were patients here. She was impressed with the changes and glad for the opportunity to see them before leaving due to her busy schedule. After the ceremony was over, all of the Women’s Day committee members received so many compliments and praises from the women of our hospital. They enjoyed everything from having Dr. Dalil present to the wonderful lunch and the gifts. Each one said they had not received such a great celebration for women and were happy to be a part of it. It was worth all the work that went into the planning, decorating, and organizing when it was evident from all the women of the hospital that they felt appreciated, valued, and loved. This was the 100th celebration of International Women’s Day worldwide, but felt to most of these women that it was their first celebration of being valued as a woman. Thank you to CURE International Hospital for allowing this day to be possible and for making this day a huge success and encouragement to the women of our hospital and future leaders of Afghanistan.

Medical Care Restored in Egypt

With the world events in Japan and Libya, the recent political upheaval in Egypt has taken a backseat. However, all of Egypt continues to recover from the disruption of the protests in January and February, including CURE’s medical outreach to the disabled children of that country. I am happy to report that we restarted our medical activities at the end of February, and children are again being seen in clinic.

Last December, CURE began a program at two hospitals in Cairo that provides charity medical care to disabled children whose families have limited means to pay for treatment. The program is focused in Cairo, but has already reached towns several hours by road from the city. CURE has partnered with the Good Shepherd and Angelo American Hospitals to provide the care and medical treatment of these beautiful children. We are working with two of the better pediatric orthopedic surgeons in Cairo, who welcomed the opportunity to heal these children in need.

Our program coordinator, Mina, is a young Egyptian pharmacist, passionate for the overall mission of CURE. He not only oversees the medical clinics and hospital treatment activities, but he becomes a care giver to each child seen in the program. He reduces their anxieties with chocolates and his warm smile, and he prays with their parents throughout the medical process. It has been a joy to see lives being changed, even in this politically volatile area of the world.

Mead Minutes: A busy week

Greetings from the Great Rift Valley!! I am inside this morning as a cool fog has enveloped Kijabe. The past few days we have had some glorious rains drenching the land well. The blackened fields surrounding the house have now sprouted green shoots in many areas. Our bougainvillea hedge has green finger-like growths winding through the brown network. The bees appear very active after the rains; soon it will be time to check the honey production. I am relaxing, covered with my spider web patterned quilt with a fragrant cup of Ethiopian dark roasted coffee, enjoying the morning quiet.

This past week was extremely hectic. As I looked forward in the schedule, wondering how all these cases piled together, I realized the coming weeks do not look all that less busy.  Anyway, we finished all the work, and everyone appears to be healing well. Entering CURE Kijabe appeared to require a special ticket — ‘spinal deformity’ or ‘osteogenesis imperfecta.’  We operated on five children with various spinal deformities; we had six with OI. In addition there were others to fill the days. Read the rest of this entry »

Youth make giving back part of ski trip

The Momentum youth group of Myrtle Grove Presbyterian Church got in touch with me about integrating CURE with the fundraising for their annual trip.  I connected them with a child from CURE Kids, and the youth group took it from there.  Here’s a report back from one of the Momentum leaders:

This year on our annual youth group ski trip we decided to incorporate giving into our trip. Instead of solely spending money on ourselves we wanted to also give back and help out someone in need. That’s where CURE Kids came in and matched us up with a child to financially and prayerfully support. We were able to fund some of our child’s surgery and follow the progress of his story. It was wonderful, not only to be able to bless a child and change his life, but also to be blessed ourselves in knowing that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
If you want to connect your group with a CUREkid, send an email to info@cure.org and we will get the process started!

BBC Africa to Feature CURE Zambia’s Institute of ENT & Audiology!

Editor’s note: Kimberly originally filed this report on February 17, 2011.

Phew!!!  Tomorrow will certainly be a busy, but exciting day at CURE Zambia.  Not only will the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation be featuring CURE Zambia’s successful mobile clinic program on television, but the hospital– and more specifically, the ENT & Audiology department– will be interviewed by BBC Africa!!  I can’t tell you how proud and thrilled I am to have our hospital spotlighted on a major, world-class broadcasting network!

BBC Africa will be profiling CURE Zambia’s mandatory hearing testing campaign, as we are the only hospital in the entire country pushing for the development of this policy.  BBC Africa will also be featuring our trusty ENT consultant surgeon, Dr. Uta Fröschl and our resident audiologist, Alfred Mwamba.  In addition, they will be interviewing two patients who will tell of their experience with CURE Zambia’s ENT & Audiology staff and how early hearing testing has impacted their daily lives.

The date of the BBC Africa broadcast has not yet been set, but once I get word, I’ll keep you posted.  So stay tuned…