Hosptial Tour

So, today was our first day at the hospital. You know, I have been communicating to you all about this place, but I have never seen it myself... Of course I saw the pictures, but it never does it justice.

The Koutiala hospital is not just a building with a parking lot a-la Lakeside or Emmanuel. It is actually a nine-acre compound with multiple buildings. The complexity is far greater than I imagined, with about 10 international missionaries and 55 Malian staff. This is just to run the hospital. There are other teams of Americans (like us) and Malians who are doing construction to expand the facilities.

The hospital building most utilized for patients is the hospital for women. On average, there are about 5 births and two surgeries per day. Beyond that, there are dozens of appointments for pregnant women and people who are sick. Of course, it is not all evenly distributed. Their busiest day, there were 21 births in 36 hours - and only three beds for deliveries!

Today, we saw triplets born about 10 days ago. They were only 2.2 pounds at birth - born in the bush, but brought immediately to the hospital. Three years ago, these kids would have no hope of survival. But now, with some great equipment (O.K., it's from the '90s...but state of the art by Malian standards) and skilled staff, the babies are thriving and should go home soon. (Interesting side-note... the mother of these triplets already has three sets of twins! This even beats John and Kate Rlus Eight)

The other full facility is the center for children. This is not yet open for children, but they are hopeful to open it within months. One pediatrician is due next month and another in the spring. Pediatric nurses are already in place. The pent-up demand for this is enormous. Not only are 50% of the 120,000 people in Koutiala under 15 years old, but there are thousands of women who have had a great experience with the hospital. They know where they want to come when their kids are sick, but the pedatric building/personnel are simply not ready.

Much of the pediatric building is filled with supplies that are generously sent from U.S. supporters. Because of that, we are building a massive storage and office facility behind the pediatric building. It is the length of a football field and about 20 yards wide. This will provide all the support area necessary to make the hospital thrive. One of our many jobs this week is to weld the trusses for the roof and then lay the corrugated metal roof on top of the trusses. This will allow them to finish the inside. This should all happen in a matter of weeks! This means adequate facilities and the opening of a pediatric facility.

Quote of the Day - Bob Braffhart - Facility Manager - "The Muslim women who come here would never darken the door of a church, but they will come to deliver their children at the best hospital in the country for Ob/Gyn. They will also sit and listen to a Malian pastor tell them the good news of Jesus that they would never hear anywhere else. They will sit in the waiting area for hours and watch the Jesus film in their own language."