Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Babies, Babies and more Babies!

Leaving the main road you head down a little alley way and make a couple of turns and you find yourself in the commune of Kingasani. This area is very poor and people are often reduced to eating only one meal a day. Here in the middle of the commune you find Kingasani Hospital. This amazing little hospital is run by the Catholic hospital system and is quite the baby machine. Kingasani births close to 1000 babies a month. Much of their care is charity. It has many of the problems that most hospitals here have but they are a center of hope for many mothers who have no where to birth their babiesl

Every where you look there are babies. Families are not allowed into the hospital. They come everyday to bring the new mother food and fresh linen but have to pass them through the gate which is guarded and no one but the mothers are allowed into the interior of the complex. If the family doesn't bring food to the mother she goes without.

Babies are identified with a wooden disk tied on to their wrist. The tag has a number on it that corresponds to a number that the mother wears around her wrist.

There are many premature babies born here at the hospital, more than can be accomodated by the isolets that have been furnished from a grant from the Spanish government

The hospital is very clean. Most of the mothers wear white gowns furnished by the hospital (this is not true of all the hospitals we have visited where the mothers must bring their own clothes.)

Many of the nurses are nuns and have devoted their lives to caring for these mothers and babies.

We were visiting the hospital with Dr. Ngoy from St. Joseph's hospital. Dr. Ngoy wanted to enlist all the birthing attendants to attend a Neonatal Training he was hosting. Dr. Preece, the church's NRT specialist was coming to plan our next NRT project in Lubumbashi and we decided to enlist his help in Dr. Ngoy's workshop so that he could mentor 3 doctors we had identified who are working hard to perpetuate the NRT program. He would help the doctors in two separate trainings of birthing attendants and he would help the doctors to use a shorter program for training which could be done in one day instead of the two days we had use the previous year.

Dr. Ngoy and I could not help having our pictures taken with this table full of babies. Thirteen babies were lined up on a flat table tucked in side by side and then another layer laying across the top. The table was set by a window for the ultraviolet light of the sun and then layed close together to keep each other warm.

What a site they were - Precious beautiful little spirits so new to this world. It was tender, thrilling and awesome all at once.

The training did take place and every birthing attendant at Kingasani was given the Neonatal Training. In two days Dr. Preece and our 3 Congolese doctors trained 97 doctors nurses and midwives representing 30 centers. Each center was givenat least one neonatal resusitation kit.

The following day Dr Preece, Sis Preece, Elder Barlow and I flew to Lubumbashi to meet Dr Kibula who we hope will be our champion in Lububmbashi and help us organize another training for that area to be done in October. The plan is to have Dr. Preece return in October. Fly 3 Drs. from Lubumbashi to Kinshasa for a training where they will learn how to train birthing attendants while our Kinshasa doctors work with them and hold another training session for more of the centers in Kinshasa. After that training the Dr. Preece, the Kinshasa doctors and the Lubumbashi doctors will all fly to Lubumbashi where another training will take place with the 6 Congolese doctors and Dr. Preece doing the training. The plan is to train some master trainers who will perpetuate the program throughout the Congo. The ultimate goal is to have every baby born in the DR Congo taken through the algorythm of the NRT training. The achievment of such a goal would save thousands of babies and prevent many birth injuries.

Sauver la bébé!


Jennifer said...

So Cute! I love your blog keep it up! If you want to see updates on our family our blog is

Love you! You are doing so many awesome things it's inspiring to me.

heidizinha said...

wow wow wow! so many babies! the pictures are surreal, i can't imagine being there! thanks for posting such wonderful things!

heidi (livingstone) edwards

Tandy said...

Oh my goodness, how precious! What an experience.

jneuman said...

Boy, hope the parents get the right baby when they go pick them up.

Tiffany said...

You are doing so much good! Mom, I'm glad to see pics of you with all those babies. Emma wanted to know how long it takes them to find their baby.