Sunday, May 3, 2020

GivingTuesdayNow - Special for COVID-19 on May 5th 2020

#GivingTuesdayNow - On May 5th 2020
Support for the COVID-19 Response at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya

This is a new global day of giving and unity taking place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. (This is in addition to the regularly scheduled #GivingTuesday on December 1, 2020.)

Tenwek Hospital welcomes your support to enable us to compassionately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as it comes to Kenya. Please donate online, as you are able, using one of the following clickable links:

            World Gospel Mission -  WGM Tenwek COVID-19 Response
            Friends of Tenwek - FOT Tenwek Hospital COVID-19 Response
Of course, your donations are always vital throughout the year and not just on Tuesday!

"Asante sana! Thank you very much!"

For those who want to read more about Tenwek Hospital's current responses to COVID-19, please note the following prayer concerns and a status update with photos. 

We are deeply aware that many across the globe, including you, also need our prayers, and you have them. 

There’s nothing like a pandemic when it comes to dredging up fears. The number of Kenyans with coronavirus is gradually rising, and we can feel the effects at Tenwek, even before our Bomet County has any cases. Fear of disease, fear of foreigners, fear of the wildly fluctuating economy, fear of anyone with a cold – fear has spread over the country faster than the virus itself. Among fears we can certainly include the fear of insufficient healthcare resources in Kenya. 

However, as believers who have staked our lives on the promises of Scripture, we choose daily to live "Prepared, not Scared." With the help of the local health authorities, we are educating staff and community members and putting protections in place, including screening of patients/ visitors/staff at the hospital gate and wearing of masks. We are doing what we can to slow the potential spread to our area. Yet, we are proactively gathering protective equipment and remodeling facilities in preparation for the predicted COVID-19 cases.

We are vulnerable but not terrified; pressed but not crushed; stretched but not overwhelmed.  

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change... (Ps 46:1-2).  

Here are 3 ways you can help in our preparation:
(1) Pray. Pray that He would show mercy, especially to people with limited resources. Pray for wisdom for leadership.  Pray that doors would open for the gospel and that spiritual awakening and commitment would follow where this virus goes. Pray that He would redeem even this.

(2) Give. We need funds to provide oxygen for COVID-19 patients and oxygen for other patients well into the future. Healthcare workers require adequate personal protective equipment to safely care for the potential numbers of coronavirus patients without fear. 

(3) Encourage. Kenyan and expatriate healthcare workers need your prayers for peace and courage to serve in these challenging and uncertain times. The missionaries on the field (like everyone else) have never weathered a global pandemic before, and they're doing it a long way from their families. Write to a missionary with words of encouragement. Across the globe we're in this together! 

Oxygen delivery is a key to care for many patients with moderate or severe COVID-19 symptoms. That is a common thread in the facility remodeling and major equipment purchases at Tenwek. We are extremely grateful that Friends of Tenwek has already received $100,000 USD in donations toward a goal of $250,000 USD to allow us to purchase the larger oxygen generator and to proceed with infrastructure renovations for COVID-19 special care units as noted below. We are thankful to many other donors who have already given sacrificially to our needs.

Here is a brief summary of some projects in the Tenwek Hospital COVID-19 response: 
Lower Holding Area (LHA) - Conversion of the former mortuary chapel space into a 6-bed unit (completed - $3,000 USD): Tenwek has created the LHA with 6 isolation beds with piped oxygen, which is designed primarily for patients being tested for COVID-19. As of this date, LHA has been used by 4 patients as they received care while awaiting their COVID-19 test results.

COVID-19 Holding Area and Care Unit (CHACU) - Conversion of the former Maternal and Child Health Center into a 22-bed unit ($29,577 USD):  Before COVID-19, Tenwek recently relocated its Maternal and Child Health (MCH) center to continue to meet the needs of mothers and children in this region of Kenya. The recently vacated MCH space has now been designated to be the Tenwek COVID-19 Holding Area and Care Unit (CHACU) and remodeling is well underway.  This is an advantageous site as CHACU will be located away from the main arteries of the hospital minimizing potential exposure of staff and other patients.  This renovation will provide an additional 22 general inpatient beds and 4 infant isolettes dedicated for COVID-19 care. Each bed will have access to a piped supply of oxygen. Resources are needed to renovate this former outpatient care unit into an inpatient care unit.  Friends of Tenwek (FOT) has pledged support for this project.

Oxygen Generation Capacity Upgrade ($123,000 USD): Tenwek requires a substantial increase in oxygen generation to be able to deliver sufficient oxygen for patients receiving care in CHACU and to be prepared for future oxygen needs for patients in the Sue Steury Building wards and in the upcoming Accident and Emergency facility. Friends of Tenwek (FOT) has already assisted Tenwek Hospital to acquire a new oxygen generator that will produce an additional 293 L/min (currently at 305 L/min), nearly doubling the Tenwek’s oxygen production capacity.

Tenwek COVID-19 Pavilion (TCP) - Allocation of 52 existing inpatient beds on the Eye Ward for COVID-19 Care ($57,472 USD): If we obtain sufficient funding and if the need for beds arises, then Tenwek plans to re-purpose 52 existing beds in the specialty Eye-Dental building to become the Tenwek COVID-19 Pavilion.  This will require installing oxygen delivery (MedGas) infrastructure. The TCP will provide a huge improvement of specialty care for COVID-19 patients because it will include a surgical theatre, labor & delivery area, and nursery.

Oxygen Tank Filler ($78,000 USD): In order to fully utilize the new oxygen generating capacity described above, additional investments are required: including a larger oxygen tank filler, a manifold, and more oxygen piping. With our current oxygen generating capacity and current oxygen tank filler, Tenwek Hospital is able to fill only 4 oxygen tanks daily. With the expanded oxygen generation capacity along with the larger tank-filling machine, Tenwek will be able to fill 28 oxygen tanks daily. That will be a 7-fold increase! Tenwek Hospital plans to partner with Bomet County to fill oxygen tanks for use at the County isolation facility at Koiwa, about 15 miles from Tenwek. This will enable compassionate care in Christ’s name to many more in the region surrounding Tenwek Hospital. 

Mortuary service expansion ($71,630 USD)At present Tenwek’s growth has exceeded its mortuary refrigerator capacity necessitating creative innovations. This need was recognized within Tenwek's Strategic Plan for 2019-2023, which was developed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though mortuary services are not frontline services, they are critical to be able to provide dignified care and to prevent a public health hazard. Such a need became readily apparent through televised scenes of large refrigerator trucks parked outside of US hospitals to accommodate the COVID-19 fatalities. The proposed mortuary service expansion for Tenwek Hospital includes a larger refrigeration unit and a hydraulic trolley lifter. This will increase the mortuary's current capacity of 12 bodies to be able to accommodate 36 bodies. 

Counseling Services ($3,000 USD/month): To maintain the mental health of Tenwek's frontline staff, Tenwek Hospital has contracted with a Kenyan-based mental healthcare group to provide counseling services as a supplement to its current 5 counselors. Counselors already are supporting staff so that they are better-equipped to practice healthy coping strategies in the face of this pandemic.  Many experts predict that a mental health crisis will be the silent epidemic in the wake of COVID-19.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with N95 and Surgical Masks ($14,635 USD/month): As noted in countries around the world, one critical challenge is to provide the necessary PPE for healthcare workers for them to be safe while providing care for COVID-19 patients. While true anywhere in the world, healthcare workers in Kenya are an incredibly valuable and limited resource, and their protection remains a foremost necessity. Healthcare workers must have full confidence that they have the necessary PPE (masks, gowns, goggles, and gloves) to be able to serve. With the increased scarcity, the price of PPE has risen according to demand pricing.  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the cost of a surgical mask was $0.13.  The price has now risen to $0.80.  Similarly, the price of each N95 mask has now risen from about $4.00 to $13.27.  Tenwek Hospital will certainly need support to continue procuring the necessary PPE.  An estimate of Tenwek's monthly mask requirement is 500 of N95 masks ($6,635 USD/month) and 10,000 of surgical masks ($8,000 USD/month). 

Hand Sanitizer ($1,920 USD/month): With increased awareness of the importance of hand hygiene, Tenwek Hospital now requires 1,600 Liters of hand sanitizer per month. At the current higher price of $240 USD per 20 liters this is a total cost of $1,920 USD per month.  

Testing for COVID-19 (To be arranged through Kenya Ministry of Health): Tenwek Hospital currently uses a GeneXpert machine to test for tuberculosis. The Kenya Ministry of Health will arrange for the new software upgrade and test kits to permit Tenwek Hospital to perform COVID-19 tests onsite. This will provide timely and more abundant test access for evaluation of suspected cases and for screening of populations, including healthcare workers. 

Community Health Promotion Education on Soap Making: In addition to the inpatient and outpatient care that we provide, Tenwek Hospital Community Health and Development has been reaching out to the community, including the county prison. They have taken the initiative to teach individuals in the local community on how to make soap, augmenting hand hygiene promotion efforts.

Community Production of Face Shields and Cloth Masks: Community leaders have mass-produced face shields for use by healthcare workers. The FOT "Threads of Hope" sewing ministry for at-risk women has already produced over 500 cloth masks for use within the hospital and in the community.  With the scarcity of surgical masks, these efforts have increased Tenwek's response potential.

With thanks for your love, prayers, and partnership with us,
Tenwek Hospital CEO Shem Tangus
Tenwek Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. Steve Burgert (serving with WGM)
Friends of Tenwek President Dr. David Hoover

US National Day of Prayer - March 15, 2020