by Diane Voit of the Meru Partnership
With generous contributions from members and friends of the Greater Milwaukee Synod, the entire electrical system at Nkoaranga Hospital was updated. New poles, power lines, and a dedicated transformer were installed. In addition, new switch-over boards were placed in every department. The project has had a great impact. Machines like the autoclave that used to break down are now functioning without any problem. Other machines, and even the light bulbs and computers, are much better protected as the generator switches on automatically during power outages making it safer for patient care. The improved power system was also required to provide more consistent electricity to the badly needed X-ray system.
Thanks to the Doctors of Feuerkinderteam and the German Rotary, the X-ray system was installed just before Christmas and the first X-ray was taken on Christmas Day. Since then hundreds of patients have been spared the grueling 42-kilometer roundtrip to Arusha for an X-ray, and patients can be assigned to the proper department and quicker treatment.
This patient pictured, for example, had an accident while traveling on the back of a motorcycle. At first he went to a local healer who called himself a ‘bone setter,’ and he thought that his problem would go away after being treated by him. However, he felt that the pain and swelling increased and decided finally to get another opinion from a doctor. He was first seen by a clinical officer in the hospital who sent him for an X-ray. Dr. Kiwesa decided surgery was needed and an ankle fusion was performed. The patient is recovering, and he is expected to regain full function of his foot and ankle.
These are just a few of the improvements at Nkoaranga Hospital spearheaded by Tanya Van Braekel, who is responsible for identifying needs, working with donors, and managing each project. Under her leadership there have been significant improvements in hospital finances and employee retention. The Greater Milwaukee Synod has been funding her salary which has resulted in the hospital becoming a tremendous asset in Meru. Thanks to Tanya and all the partners of Nkoaranga, the hospital is heading toward being self-sustaining which will ensure its viability in the future.
There are still needs to be met. Even though the power has been significantly improved, it is prudent to protect the X-ray system and other electronic devices from external power disruptions. To protect the hospital’s investment in the X-Ray and other electronic medical devices, a voltage stabilizer will be needed. We intend to work with the German partners and the Meru Diocese to fund this important piece of equipment. To ensure continuation of the progress made in the hospital improvements, the Diocese has extended Tanya’s contract. Supporting her modest salary has been, and hopefully will continue to be, an important aspect of our partnership with Nkoaranga Hospital. Our 2018 -2019 financial needs are expected to cost $30,000 to $35,000. If you would like to support this important ministry, please make checks payable to the Greater Milwaukee Synod with the memo, Nkoaranga Hospital, Meru Partnership. Your gifts can truly make a difference in the lives of the people of Meru.