Our WorkThe focus of BethanyKids ministry
BethanyKids is a faith-based group that offers surgical and rehabilitative care to children and families who have “no other place to turn”. Families bring their children to us because of our ability and willingness to provide excellent care to their children – at little or no cost to those families who cannot afford it.
In addition to providing direct care for children in need, BethanyKids is dedicated to multiplying this care by training and equipping African doctors. Our surgeon training program has been in place for almost a decade now, and many of our graduates have returned home as some of the first pediatric surgeons in their countries.
Finally, we recognize that for every physical need, there are also emotional and spiritual needs. Our desire is that, in everything we do, we would point people back to a God who loves them and is calling them to himself.
Children who might be thought of as worthless can, through surgery, gain independence and a chance to succeed in life. BethanyKids has provided operations for thousands of children since we began work at AIC-Kijabe Hospital in 2004. Many of these children are then able to attend school and ultimately have the opportunity to earn a living independently instead of relying on someone else to care for them.
But medical care, especially surgery, is expensive. One of BethanyKids’ key values is that no child should be denied surgery because of lack of funds. BethanyKids offers highly subsidized care for children whose families would otherwise not be able to afford the life-saving and life-transforming surgical care we provide.
Supporting the Surgery program is a Mobile Clinic team which visits about 15 sites across Kenya several times a year. These Clinics allow families to bring their child(ren) for follow-up care after surgery. It means they can do this closer to home and without the cost of travelling once again to Kijabe. The Clinics also provide a means of identifying children who can benefit from surgery.
The team consists of three nurses, an occupational therapist, a social worker, a parent mentor and a driver/logistician. Some of their clinic outings are 1-day trips while other more distant sites require several days. Visitors to Kijabe frequently travel to a 1-day clinic to observe the team in action.
In 2007 BethanyKids became the first site in East Africa for training pediatric surgeons accredited by the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). This training program is also the first specialty training program under the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeon (PAACS), which ensures that the professional training is coupled with spiritual discipleship.
The physicians who train at BethanyKids come from as far away as Madagascar and Sierra Leone, and many of them are returning to their home as the first pediatric surgeons in their country. BethanyKids’ commitment to training local pediatric surgeons has a chance to impact tens of thousands of people that currently do not have access to this kind of care.
In everything we do, we strive to minister to the spiritual needs of the children and families who come to us for medical care. We have chaplains or Christian social workers in three of our five partner hospitals, and all of our staff recognize the important role they play in investing in the lives and hearts of their patients. Our surgical training program includes spiritual mentorship under the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS), and because of this support they are better equipped to provide hope and holistic care from a heart of love.
The heart of our spiritual ministry is clearly reflected in Mercy, our chaplain at the AIC-Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. She has pioneered what she calls the Disciplers Ministry, which is successfully integrating the spiritual and practical sides of God’s call to minister to those in need.