Uganda Pediatric Surgery Mission: Day Three
Another wonderful surgery day has been completed in Uganda, with 35 more children receiving operations. The medical team operated for 12 straight hours today and added a fourth operating room table to make sure every possible child who came this week will be healed.
The courtyard of the hospital is brimming with activity each day. Our team sits and speaks with every family who has brought a child for medical care, and their stories have touched everyone’s hearts.
What we’ve especially loved to see are the fast friendships forming among the children who came for surgery. Definitely no one is feeling lonely while waiting their turn!
Even though the surgeries will cause them to feel sore for a few days, it’s our real hope that every child we meet this week will return home with a great story to tell of their time spent with us.
Before we introduce you to some of the patients today, we wanted you to meet another member of the medical team, Alex Ariho. He has been a nurse at Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital for the past three years. Born into a family of seven children, Alex had the responsibility of taking care of his younger brother who was sick for a very long time. Each time he took his brother to the hospital, he observed how the doctors treated their patients. Whenever he saw a doctor being rude or unfeeling to a family, Alex wished he could become a physician himself and give patients the attention they deserve.
Alex worked so hard at his schoolwork, dreaming of attending medical school, but his parents were unable to afford the tuition. He did not give up, however, and opted to earn his diploma in nursing instead. While admitting that it can be challenging at times to see children come to the hospital who are sick, Alex told us that when he sees them after treatment looking strong and healthy, he knows his dream of helping others is fulfilled.
We are just so fortunate to be working with such dedicated professionals this week.
And now on to the stories of some of the children helped today!
We’d first like you to meet beautiful Winfred, who lost her birth mom at around three weeks of age. When Winfred was two years old, she started experiencing pain in her abdomen, and her stepmother was accused of practicing witchcraft on the child. To prove her innocence, the stepmom took Winfred to see a doctor for testing, and it was discovered that the little girl had a hernia. Unfortunately, Winifred’s family did not have the funds to pay for an operation, so she had to wait four more years until this chance at being healed.
Winfred received her operation today, and it was a complete success.
Nicodemus (age 7) and Philemon (age 9) are brothers who came to the mission together. They come from a busy household of 13 brothers and sisters! Nicodemus was born needing immediate cranial surgery and remained in the hospital for four long months recovering. After his discharge, he began experiencing severe pain, and his parents were told he needed a second surgery which they could not afford. They tried herbal medicine to help their child, but his pain just worsened.
Soon after it was discovered that Philemon also needed pediatric surgery, which put the family into great emotional distress. They were overjoyed to hear the news about the medical mission and the chance to receive free help for their sons. They would like to tell those who gave with such kind hearts that you have brought lost joy back into their family.
Yesterday we told you how much three-year-old Vincent loved the care pack he was given by our team. He zoomed his new truck all over the hospital grounds.
Vincent’s mom told us that her son was born with a urological condition that needed surgery. However, as a simple farmer, she was never able to earn enough money to get him the medical care he needed. When she heard that a medical mission was taking place this week, she quickly sent in her son’s information and was so thankful when he was added to the surgery schedule.
She arrived at the mission with not only Vincent but her two-week-old son Habib. When doctors did an exam, they discovered that Baby Habib had the same medical condition as his brother. So today, BOTH brothers are resting well following surgery, and we can’t wait to see Vincent back up and smiling again soon.
The final child we want you to meet today is Baby Maryika. Her mother has been in true distress since her birth, as Maryika has been unable to keep any milk in her stomach. Each time she breastfed, Maryika violently threw up. The baby was born weighing five pounds, but her weight soon dropped to just four pounds. Her mom took her to a local hospital where she was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis, a condition where the pylorus muscles in the stomach block food from entering the small intestine. Without surgery, life-threatening dehydration and electrolyte imbalance will set in.
Unfortunately, the first hospital Baby Maryika was taken to said that nothing could be done and sent her home without treatment. When Maryika’s mom saw her little girl getting increasingly sick, she rushed her to the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital seeking help, and they agreed to operate. Just as they were planning to take the baby back for surgery, the hospital lost power.
Thankfully, the doctors at that facility called Dr. Situma at Holy Innocents, and Maryika was transferred immediately as an emergency case. We are so happy to report that the surgery was successful, and the baby can start feeding as soon as tomorrow. Her mother is just so grateful!
Three more surgery days remain, and the LWB team on the ground are doing everything they can to make sure each child feels special.
We hope you’ll find encouragement with the closing words today of team member and social worker Miracle Nassuna:
“The strength and grace for each day are amazing. Today was another glorious day. The parents today were much stronger than yesterday because of the steady progress they saw with the children who received their operations yesterday. Most of the families are farmers and peasants and cannot afford medical care. Thanks to everyone out there for making it possible for these children to receive surgeries.”
Before we end for today, here are a few more amazing kids who will be part of this surgery mission. As you look at their faces, we hope you realize just what a difference you are making in their lives.
and last but not least…