Posts Tagged ‘aids’

Zomba Central Hospital

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

What a special opportunity to visit the “Kangaroo Ward” here.  Because of no incubators etc, preemies and super small infants are bound flesh to flesh to their moms where they stay up to a month in this heated ward.  Skin, heartbeat, breath all make a huge difference in the survival rate.  The US has even noted the exceptional success.

So we had hats and booties to give out, which they insisted be put on them. That was very touching for me.  There was even a set of twins and the grandmother was the volunteer to help the mom with the skin to skin.

The regular maternity ward had at least 40 babies and moms, in the same bed with family members camped out around them bringing meals. That was gimme, gimme, hands out stretched.   Not comfortable!

Then came the Malnutrition Ward where neglected infants and toddlers are cared for in a last ditch effort to escape the inevitable.  Some were swollen and therefore looked well-fed, but that’s just a condition associated with malnutrition. And one sight I will never erase from my mind was  a toddler covered with purple lesions…lips…eye sockets…and he was just whimpering with such pleading eyes.   The last throes of AIDS.

Winding Down In Lilongwe

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

We have a bunch of painting to finish tomorrow, our last full day here at Partners in Hope.  But the BIG project is done. We were to paint a peaceful African scene in the Education Room. It is where newly diagnosed AIDS patients come to learn how to live with the virus. So it is a fearful and stressful time for them.

Our goal was to give them some tranquility. The painting was massive and there are lots of landmarks represented:  Mt.Mulanje, Zomba Plateau, Lake Malawi, Liwonde game preserve, tea plantations, and Psalm. 121:1-2

We are thrilled that on Friday morning they want to dedicate all our work during their morning devotion service.  They want to talk about the efforts and then for us to give them all a tour. That’s quite an honor we don’t take lightly. It has been an amazing blessing to US!

What I Know About AIDS

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Well, we have spent  over 3 weeks working around and with people with AIDS, and I thought I should learn a little more.

Back in the 1930’s,  a tribe in Senegal that hunted monkeys and were in contact with their blood, caught a Simian form of immune suppressing disease; the monkey form of HIV. They know this from archaic blood samples that have since been analyzed.

Now in order to take the next leap, the medical community figures that when mass immunizations started to eradicate childhood diseases, maybe a noble health care worker ran out of needles (they were not disposable then) so you might have to use 10 needles to vaccinate 100 people. You saved lives wiping out polio and such, but you unknowingly spread AIDS.

The gay community took it out of Africa, but also the traditions of the village culture spread it rapidly here. In some groups, when a girl became of age, a designated elder took away her virginity. And if a woman’s husband died, then a member of her husbands family had sex with her to erase the family link so she could marry again. Carriers spread the virus like wildfire.These are some of the ingrained customs that the medical people are fighting against.

So each day we come to the clinic where 50-100 people are lined up to see doctors and get their month’s supply of ARV’s (anti viral medications). The education room that I just painted, is where newly diagnosed patients get some training in how to LIVE with AIDS, including nutrition, sleep, cleanliness, and education. People don’t have to die from AIDS (tho’ there lives will be shorter due to stress on other organs etc). But pride and non compliance of doctor’s orders many times keep them from a healthy life.The saddest is the babies, but only one in three HIV mothers give birth to an infected infant.

In the capitol here, 18% of the population has the virus. But the more alarming statistic is about 80% of all women have been raped (this includes the “traditions”).

So that’s what I know now.

Panels In Dark Places

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Before coming to Malawi, I contacted  the Hospital Art Foundation. They are a great outfit that gets organizations to pay to paint canvases of various  subjects, usually as a team-building event.  Then they donate these paintings to hospitals. The color and vibrancy brings cheer to even the darkest corner of the Moyo Clinic.

This may have been our toughest task after getting them over here.  Hanging 6 panels, one inch apart, level, and above the folk sitting on benches waiting to see the doctors.

The Moyo Clinic sees 3600 people a MONTH, all of whom have AIDS or a complication of AIDS. And for FREE.  Even the medications are dispensed gratis thanks to the USA. These doctors are volunteers and missionaries who raise their own support in order to work long and hard, and not without some peril.

They are truly the Light in Dark Places.