Mbingo Baptist Hospital: view from Mbingo Hill

Saturday, May 26, 2012


In addition to the goal of training local residents here at Mbingo, one of our main projects is to get the neonatal nursery up and running. There are many challenges to this goal, including space and equipment, as well as lack of formal training, but we are hopeful that this will become a reality while we are here. Currently there are two semi-functional incubators that can be used for premature babies that need help with temperature control and evaporative water loss. However, the thermostats do not function well, and we are having great difficulty maintaining normal temperatures for the babies (which in turn makes it difficult to assess for infection, as fever is one of the primary criteria). Despite the setbacks, a well-organized nursery would be a tremendous asset to the hospital, providing life-saving treatment to late pre-term infants who otherwise would not survive. We hope to raise some monetary support to build incubators to get things jump-started (it turns out that building simplistic, but sturdy incubators is easier than trying to maintain a new incubator with all the bells and whistles). We are also using bubble CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) here in the nursery for babies with respiratory distress (we do not currently have the ability to intubate and ventilate neonates), which has been a great addition to the practice. The CPAP was actually started by Dr. Sara a couple of months before we arrived, and is being continued as it is an excellent adjunct to care as it offers respiratory support for babies who are otherwise well, but just need a little extra help to make it through the first week or so of life.

As an update, we recently had our first true nursery success stories: an ex 31-wk premature infant and an ex 32-wk premature infant - both of whom had respiratory distress requiring CPAP, neonatal sepsis (one with necrotizing enterocolitis), and feeding difficulties - were recently discharged home after greater than one month in the nursery. The children look great, have gained excellent weight, and are now stable without additional respiratory support or temperature control. We hope to expand the nursery and obtain more incubators to be able to provide these life-saving measures to additional children. Thank you for your support.

JR and the two premature babies and their mothers on the day of discharge

Our current incubators... which work some of the time. They are rather temperamental and do not hold a steady temperature for the babies.

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