by Willis Obunga,
Development & Communications Coordinator at BethanyKids
“I have been here at the Hospital for over a week, and my baby’s massive head size still remains the same!” Justine wondered. She had expected her son’s head size to grow back to normal immediately after surgery. Overcome by emotion, and sadness on her face punctuated with drops of tears flowing down her cheeks, she looked at me intensely expecting that I would offer her some hope. As I thought through what to tell the young mother, I observed that she was not the only one waiting for my response, but also other mothers in the ward with children suffering from the same condition.
I realized that words of comfort, and assurance that their babies would receive better and appropriate medical care were not enough! It dawned on me that they needed something more! A clear explanation of the condition and what to expect during post op care. Most of them get admitted with very little information regarding their children’s condition, and sometimes the only information they have is what has been passed on to them by friends and relatives, which often times is far from the truth. Others would tell you that their children have either been cursed or bewitched, and that because traditional medicine has failed, their remaining hope is conventional medicine.
Helping parents and the general public understand issues relating to surgical conditions and disabilities is fundamental as far as BethanyKids’ mission is concerned. Besides the use of educational DVDs within the facility, Radio features and one on one interaction with nurses and other medical staff, parents are encouraged to join support groups where they are offered advice and training on how best to care for their children from a medical perspective.
After my interaction with Justine and the other mothers in the ward, our medical staff took note of their questions, and later explained about the condition and what to expect. Besides educating and training medical professionals in the care of children with surgical conditions, BethanyKids is also committed to sensitizing parents and the general public on issues relating to disabilities in children.