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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Be Prepared - Part 2

On Friday, Keren, our Social Worker again came to me asking me to accompany her to the village. Aha! I thought, I am prepared and know exactly what I need. This time I grabbed my water, bag, money, camera and medical kit and hopped in the van ready to go. I would not be caught out two days in a row!!! 

Just before we left Keren explained the story. A neighbour had come to GSF to express how concerned she was about a local lady who she knew who had 'produced' (as they say in Uganda!!)  a baby last week. The mother already had a 2 year old and since the baby was born she had been locked in the house not letting anyone in or anyone help her. Before having the baby the neighbour was helping the mother out, as she had been sick. The neighbour was becoming concerned that the mother was not coping and that the baby had not been fed for days.

We rushed to the local home not knowing what we might find. As we arrived the mother was sitting just outside the doorway unable to walk or stand. She had a very obvious and nasty wound to her leg, which was covered, and I mean totally covered in flies. We got out of the van and stepped carefully towards the hut. The ground was covered in faeces and was very smelly. I walked into the hut to find the mother's 2 year old boy sitting on the floor covered in all sorts of not very nice things. We then came across the baby who was laying naked on a piece of cloth on the mud floor. The baby was also covered in dirt, faeces, the remains of the afterbirth and looked as though she had not been washed at all since being born.

I scooped the baby up and found that she was very dehydrated and floppy. This family needed to go to the local hospital. We carried the baby and 2 year old into the van and found that the mother not being able to stand or help herself had to also be lifted into the van. In the van I gave the baby some glucose and the mother explained that because of her wound she had been unable to mobilise at all since giving birth. This meant that she had not been able to prepare food, collect water, get outside the hut for the toilet or to get to a hospital to give birth. She had been managing at home alone all week.

We arrived at GSF and bathed and fed all 3 of them on the way to the local hospital. When we arrived at the hospital the mother had to be admitted and both children were declared medically ok to leave. One of the doctors stated that they could keep the baby for observation and 2 hourly feeds but that would have meant that someone would have had to stay with her in hospital and it is a very busy, crowded place. If at all possible we choose not to stay in some hospitals as they are not great places. We chose to bring her back to GSF and observe her there.

We arrived home and took the baby to it’s new home where my housemate, another girl and I hatched a plan to share getting up every 2 hours during the night to feed baby Miracle as she had temporarily been named.  We had a tough night. Our beautiful Miracle did not feed well.  She weighed only 5 lbs/2kgs and had not really fed for a week. Miracle struggled to take enough feeds orally so I passed a feeding tube. Amanda and I then set our alarms and woke every 1 ½-2 hours to feed and check on her. She was sleepy and even during the next day did not get enough energy even with the NG feeds to wake and suck. I made the decision the next afternoon to take her to a hospital we know in Jinja where she was admitted and treated with antibiotics to treat for suspected neonatal sepsis.

Amanda and I arrived home tired and drained but hopeful that as a team GSF had been able to intervene in time to help this family.

Update – The mother is still in hospital. She has had surgery and is on IV antibiotics. She is likely to be there for quite a few weeks.
Jeremiah (2yrs) has been treated for malaria and a chest infection. He is clean, happy and thriving in the toddler house.
Baby 'Miracle Ketty' has been discharged from hospital and has returned to us for continued feeding, love and care.
Please pray for this family as they recover, gain strength and heal. Also for the team at GSF who have to assess if and when the children will be able to be reunited with their mother.

I discovered during Friday that even with the learning experience of 'Being Prepared' on Thursday I will never be prepared for everything. I went into this situation physically prepared but nothing will have ever prepared me for what we saw. Our Social Workers state that it is the worst condition they have ever found a family in. Personally, I have never held children who smell so awful and are covered in such awful mess. The situation was heart breaking. The mother sadly was just physically unable to provide the care her children needed and had no way to get help for her family. I am today still processing what I saw and what we found. I have not gone into fine details in this blog as they are best left as a memory. I am grateful that we were alerted to this family and pray that we will be guided in the best way that we can help and assist them in the future.

Answer to Prayer – as I was compiling these blogs I was also preparing to write an email to my Church family, Supporters and Friends to ask for financial assistance to help Peace who has the burnt hand. On Saturday I had spoken to a doctor who is based in Kampala. He agreed to see her this coming Friday to operate! It had been playing on my mind that I had promised this family that I would help (we are told never to make promises here). Now that I had an appointment booked for her plastic surgery I needed to find the money asap in order for her to get the treatment. I then received a phone call from my mum who was on an Alpha weekend. One of the guests had donated £500 towards the ministry here. How amazing!! The money can go straight to pay for the operation and to provide transport, accommodation and food for Peace and her grandmother whilst they are in Kampala! God is good!


  1. Fabulous work must be very hard for you at times , but you are doing a great job in Uganda.....they are very lucky people to have you there. Just keep following your instincts....Best wishes Jackie xx

  2. I am praying for you Katie. This is what you are there for! I am thrilled to see how God is using you to help these beautiful children. You are making a difference. God Bless you. Love and hugs Mum x x x