Sisters of Mercy
P.O. Box 16
Feb. 6th 2016
Dear Bill and friends in your Parish,
We send special greetings from Mutomo to all you good people in Eastbourne, who support us so consistently and so generously in our Mission. Our Mission is to provide access to basic quality health care to people who present to our facility for services. Last year, our Outpatient Department (OPD) provided health services for twenty eight thousand, five hundred and seventy (28,570) patients. Apart from the outpatient clients, we provided care and treatment for an average of five hundred (500) children under 5 years of age every month and an average of three hundred and seventy (370) ante-natal clients (pregnant women) per month. Just over 100 babies are born every month in this hospital of which approximately 20% require an emergency caesarian section. Just over 400 major operations to save life were carried out last year and 2,763 minor operations were performed. X-rays totaled 3,312 and ultrasounds close to 500. Laboratory tests conducted were 51,221 and pharmacy dispensed 40,123 prescriptions. Care and treatment is provided for just over 1,000 infected people every month both at the hospital and at six (6) satellite clinics. Mutomo Mission Hospital is the only hospital in this remote rural arid area so we are trying our best to provide health services to those who need them, although the challenges are enormous. It is a very busy hospital functioning with a ‘skeleton staff’!
Although the hospital was established fifty two years ago by the Sisters of Mercy from Sligo, Ireland, it is not yet self-sustainable. Even at this time the hospital is not generating enough revenue to meet the day to day operational costs – food, medicines, staff salaries, fuel /power costs etc. The vicious circle of drought, poverty, malnutrition and disease are an on-going challenge. The people are unable to pay the nominal charges for care and treatment and consequently they try to avoid coming to the hospital until their illness is at an advanced stage and they cannot cope at home. This increases the cost of treatment and becomes a greater burden on the patient and subsequently on the hospital as the patients frequently cannot pay the hospital bill.
The expectations of people availing of our services are rising daily. They do not expect to be referred to a hospital in Nairobi for investigative procedures nor to have surgeries. They will die in Mutomo rather than face the cost and the hardship of traveling to a facility unknown to them. We are currently trying to set up a volunteer program in collaboration with Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB inUS) to meet our needs for a full time surgeon, an obstetrician/ gynaecologist and a pediatrician. The Ministry of Health is coming in and out of the hospital every few weeks auditing our standards, policies, procedures and infrastructure. To be honest we are far ahead of MOH in regard to standards, policies and procedures and we are commended for that.
The challenge remains for us to keep the infrastructure maintained and in many cases upgraded. The roof of the operating theatre gave way in December during the rainy season and this lead to flooding throughout the theatres, the radiology department and the outpatient area. A lot of damage was done to equipment, and services were interrupted for days. We now have to source funds to renovate the theatres and re- roof the theatre. Currently, there is the plan to renovate and re-open the surgical ward with the funds you and your parishioners so generously provided. We had merged medical and surgical ward because of staffing shortages over the past year but we are being forced to separate these two specialties – Ministry of Health requirement. The surgical ward will then be an environment where the comfort and dignity of the patients will be greatly enhanced. That work is about to begin. Our corridor in the main hospital is a bit like the local roads …. with ‘pot-holes’ . It is a concreted surface but cleaning with salty water has resulted in ‘pot-holes’
I will conclude this update on a positive note! Much has been achieved in the past year despite the challenges. As you all know water has always been a challenge here but we bored for water last year and we are happy that water was found in the compound. We still have some challenges getting it well established but we are very optimistic that the minor issues will be resolved very soon. We will be providing a water kiosk just outside the hospital for the community. We had reasonable rains in Nov. and Dec. and people planted. Thank God, most people who did plant, can look forward to having a reasonable harvest by the end of this month. That means food to eat and food to sell to pay for education and health services. Our Nursing School scheduled to open in March has been postponed to open in September. Issues at the Nursing
Council of Kenya delayed the final inspection. This work has been funded by Misean Cara (Irish Government). A new mortuary at the hospital is also on the plan … to start ‘last month’. This is Kenya remember!!
Our children’s feeding program provides nutritional support for close to 300 children per month – mostly HIV positive children and of course orphans. The Apostolic Workers support the orphan program with children’s clothes twice per year. We also have a small goat project – funded by your Parish – we bought 10 goats with your donation of 330 euro last year and we had 19 by Christmas! Lots of kid goats including twins!! The patients had the Christmas and New Year of their lives with plenty of goat meat stew, liver, intestines and goat’s head soup!! We can now provide meat on a more regular basis for the patients.
Our laboratory is currently going through a process for accreditation – the CDC was so impressed during an audit last June that they recommended we get accreditation. They committed to sponsor the process and now they are honoring that promise.
We are struggling to keep our Youth Peer Education program going due to lack of funding. The volunteer youth are trained and they go into the schools to talk about ‘healthy relationships/friendships’ and ‘risky behaviors’ and behavior change process.
Let me conclude by saying that commendations must go to people like you who support us in the Mission field. We would be helpless without your support and I wish to express my sincere appreciation and that of my colleagues in Management. Mutomo Hospital is known all over the world for the great services it provides – people love Mutomo and love to come to work as volunteers in Mutomo because first of all they see it as a place of very needy people and secondly that the only choice people in this area have for health services is Mutomo Mission Hospital. A most fulfilling apostolate!
God bless you all abundantly.
Anita – Volunteer with the Sisters of Mercy in Mutomo since 1999.