Category Archives: Health Clinic

A Success Story in Medical Centre

By Sister Rose Ndianefo, SNDdeN

“You really saved my life!”

Bello, a mother of four children nearly died as a result of gastroenteritis. She was rushed to our hospital at 2:00 a.m. on that painful day with a case of stooling and vomiting. She had been sick for about four days. On her arrival, she looked very weak, dehydrated with sunken eyes, dry mouth and skin. She was barely able to talk, because of her general state of weakness. According to her husband, she had been using a lot of herbs, but to no good effect. When her husband saw that her condition worsened, and Bello was almost at the point of death, he decided to bring her to our hospital. He was panicking, as he said, “I am afraid that she may not make it, if I wait till daybreak, and I do not have any money to care for her.” When he was asked why he did not bring her to the hospital sooner, or why he waited so long, he repeated that he had no money.

Sr.-Rose-and-Bello-450px-webAt Notre Dame Medical Centre in Amoyo, Nigeria, we admitted Bello into the female ward; she underwent a medical assessment and her treatment began. The laboratory investigations revealed not only gastroenteritis, but also typhoid and malaria. Hospitalized for five days, with multiple medications and treatments, she got better eventually. When she was discharged to go home, her husband was not able to pay even a penny for the highly subsidized costs of the drugs and laboratory tests.

sign-board-Amoyo-300px-webThis grateful woman certainly appreciated all our care. Thanking the Sisters and members of staff, she said: “You really saved my life.” She told us that she knew about the care and special treatment at our Medical Centre; she realized too that we would give her the treatment, even though she and her husband did not have any money. Her husband confessed that when his neighbors told him to take his wife to another hospital in the town; he refused by telling them that no hospital would care for his wife if he did not have any funds. Only Notre Dame Medical Centre would help them.

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Sr. Rose Ndianefo, SNDdeN (left) assists the doctor in this serious surgical procedure.

Multiple Services for Limited Staff
The Centre is open 24 hours for emergency care; it offers multiple services, including many normal deliveries and some Caesarians, ante-natal care, nutritional counselling for mothers with new babies, treatments for hypertension, diabetes, gastro-intestinal problems and various diseases (hepatatis B, malaria, typhoid,etc.) and necessary immunizations/vaccinations. Sisters Rose Ndianefo and Mary Bernadette Eboh, SNDdeN serve as staff nurses and midwives who work with one doctor, a laboratory technician, two nurses aids and two health care workers. Three persons assist with maintenance and security. Sister Antonia Uwakwe, SNDdeN is a community health worker for the Medical Centre. All staff members aim to give quality care, in a cost-effective service to the people; we offer sessions on preventative health care and child welfare. Last year, even with 100 new patients and 284 returning patients, we began a program for orphans and vulnerable children. At times, even with limited resources, our medical staff extends to home care for the elderly and to two outreach clinics, including a mobile clinic.

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Sr. Rose Ndianefo, SNDdeN gives a hepititis B injection to a patient, a clinician prepares the documents and Sr. Antonia Uwakwe, SNDdeN prepares the next injections.

People have hope when they come to our Centre for medical care. The Notre Dame spirit is alive and active, with St. Julie’s option for those living in poverty and for the sick in an under-served community. The people in Amoyo recognize God’s goodness in this health care ministry of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. In September 2014, I was missioned to the Medical Centre, a special kind of place where our Sisters are called to work. This is an area where the people hardly eat two times in a day. They cannot afford medical care either and often, they rely only on herbal medicine for cures.

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Sr. Mary Bernadette Eboh, SNDdeN prepares a group of expectant mothers for childbirth.

In our Centre, we have a policy not to send anybody away just because she/he does not have money at hand. Of course, our policy results in outstanding debt, with challenges to search for funding through grants, sponsorships and fund-raising efforts.

We continue to network with other hospitals/clinics, churches and organizations. We do what we can to alleviate pain and suffering for underprivileged patients, living in poor situations, as they testify continuously. Bello’s story shows that we give the people some hope for getting well in Amoyo, and we will continue to bring the good news in our good works for those in need in Nigeria.

Please show your support for saving lives by funding medications, necessary treatments, and preventative care.

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Sisters Provide Disaster Relief

By Sisters Juana Rivera Jara and Evelyn Fitzke, SNDdeN

El Niño rains hit the Pacific coast of Peru in March and April 2017. In the rural north, the Piura region, where two communities of Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur live and minister, the devastation was particularly damaging. Floods devastated whole villages; Houses-flooded-neighborhoods-web300pxthey washed away houses, schools, and health centers; they destroyed roads, bridges and vast areas of crops. During the heavy rains and flooding, the Sisters in the Tambogrande Region rallied to help people suffering from the disasters to their homes and property. Everywhere, destruction and disease pervaded an area where many people are already vulnerable!

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Sr. Juana Rivera Jara, SNDdeN hangs an IV for an elderly dengue fever patient. No fancy IV equipment or crisp bedsheets here! The patients walked many miles to reach the Health Center in town, where dedicated staff offer the best they can .

Sr. Juana Rivera Jara, SNDdeN is a nurse, living in Tambogrande in a community of four sisters, and working in the town’s health center. She talks about the pain and suffering that she is witnessing daily from those who are ill, living in poverty and at great distances from medical resources. “The torrential rains have brought diseases, especially dengue hemorrhagic fever and chikungunya (deadly viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes), and also the threat of cholera. There have been many deaths,” she says sadly. “In my work as a nurse, I care for people with these illnesses. They are mostly those living in poverty in flooded rural areas.”

Sr. Juana comes from the village of Miraflores, high in the hills that border the town of Tambogrande. “I was born in the rural area, I grew up in the campo,” she tells us. “I appreciate and enjoy the countryside and nature and all its beauty. But there also have been moments in 1983, 1998, and now 2017 that frightened and saddened me. I feel now the suffering of the people from the disastrous flooding: whole villages cut off by damaged roads and bridges, mudslides, crops completely lost and domestic animals carried away into the rivers and mudslides.”

 

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Sr. Juana uses games and puzzles to access the development of children in the village in order to pick up developmental delays that can be treated.

Facing Challenges
Sr. Juana realizes the challenges. The people who come to the Tambogrande health center are very poor, and often come great distances, from the rural communities that surround the town. With rivers and creeks swollen, roads and bridges destroyed, to reach the health center presents major obstacles for travel. In several rural communities, the small health clinics are completely washed away, so people have to make the long trek into Tambogrande.

Sr. Juana understands the problematic situations, hurdles and frustrations experienced by the people in the travel through raging waters and thick mud:
♦ parents bringing their child with a high fever and convulsions;
♦ the family transporting their grand-dad whose speech is slurred;
♦ the man and woman carrying their brother who fell and now is unconscious.

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Even the local ambulance sometimes gets stuck in the strong currents of the swollen river!

Once the people arrive, they need to pay for basic supplies, such as needles, IV equipment, bandages and medicines. They do not have health insurance; they do not have any money. With the bean fields washed away by the floods, the livestock drowned in the rivers and mudslides, these desperate people search for medical help for loved ones in this humanitarian crisis, caused by the severe flooding. Tambogrande’s health center, made of brick, is still standing, but desperately under-equipped and under-staffed. The flood waters are reaching the walls of the health clinic, and are now a focus of mosquitoes. There are not enough beds or mosquito nets or other essential equipment. When the emergency room overflows with patients, the medical staff must attend them on stretchers and benches in the hallways.

For the doctors and nurses, the situation is extremely difficult, Sr. Juana explains: “The hours are long, 12-18 hours per shift, which is longer than normal, due to the shortage of medical personnel. The conditions are not safe for the healthcare worker, either! I have often been afraid of contracting these illnesses, because we work surrounded by the mosquito that carries the virus.” The biggest challenge now facing Sr. Juana and the other medical staff at her health clinic is the current outbreak of deadly dengue hemorrhagic fever, carried by a mosquito breeding in the flood waters. In fact, Sr. Juana heard that 3 young healthcare workers, 2 nurses and a pharmacist in the neighboring city of Piura, have died from these illnesses.

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Sisters Juana Rivera Jara and Consuelo Zapata Crisanto (center and right) interview a resident (left) in a shanty town on their rounds as community nurses.

Assistance from a Community of the Sisters of Notre Dame
How do we help? In any way we can. Sr. Juana often finds she has to help discretely, out of her own pocket with Notre Dame funds, to make up what is lacking in terms of medicine or critical supplies. Sometimes it may be only her own bottle of drinking water that saves the day.

With Sr. Consuelo Zapata Crisanto, SNDdeN, a nursing student, Sr. Juana conducts home visits in some destitute neighborhoods.

Sr. Miriam Montero Bereche, SNDdeN, a psychologist, provides post-traumatic stress

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Sr. Miriam Montero Bereche (right) and the parish youth group distribute emergency packages of good for families living under plastic sheeting or in tents.

counseling to individuals and families traumatized by the flooding.

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Sr. Evelyn Fitzke visits an elderly man in a small village and brings medication and food supplies.

 

Sr. Evelyn Fitzke, SNDdeN, visits the elderly through our St. Julie Senior Adult Program and ensures that they have essential medications and food.

Sharing is a primary value in the Peruvian culture.
During the recent floods, the SNDdeN community as a whole worked in coordination with the local parish to obtain and distribute supplies of food and medicines to devastated neighborhoods of people living in poverty. Recently, Sr. Miriam accompanied the members of the parish youth group to the town of Catacaos, which was completely

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Children and parents sit outside to eat packets of food, just distributed.

destroyed when the Piura River overflowed. The group distributed emergency packages of food to families camped out on the side of the road or to whole families living under plastic sheeting or in tents. This project, initiated by people who themselves have lost so much shows how even the most vulnerable find some way to reach out to someone who has even less. Through their involvement in the parish, specific experience and training and the generosity of donors, the Sisters feel blessed to share and to offer some relief in a humanitarian crisis.

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Sisters Coordinate Medical Services

“I was sick and you took care of me…”  Matthew 25:36

Sister Eulalie Nkengi, SNDdeN

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In her visits, Sr. Eulalie Nkengi, SNDdeN reviews and evaluates treatments.

In the Congo-Kinshasa Province, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) minister in multiple ways to the people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Educating the children has been a major priority since the arrival of the Sisters from Belgium in 1894. From the early years in the Congo, the Sisters reached out also in cities and villages by serving the growing needs for medical care of the Congolese people. At first, they established dispensaries wherever they opened schools and then considered also as priorities medical centers, dispensaries, maternity clinics and hospitals. With the expanding needs for medical care, in a ministry for serving sick, suffering and disabled persons, more Sisters became mid-wives, nurses and physicians as well, and now staff these centers.

Sister Eulalie Nkengi, SNDdeN is a physician who coordinates the medical services in seven health care facilities, administered by the Sisters in the Congo-Kinshasa Province, with two located in the Bandundu region and five located in Kongo-Central. She travels to cities and villages across the mid/south western region of the DRC. Her major responsibilities, begun in 2011, encompass the general oversight of the medical centers, maternity clinics and hospitals in Kimwenza, Kitenda,  Lemfu, Mpese, Ngidinga and Pelende.  In Ngidinga, there are two facilities, a hospital and a health care center.  All facilities are affiliated with the Hospital Center, René de Haes in Kimwenza. The centers in Pelende and Kitenda are located in the most distant area of the province, in the Bandundu region. One center is 650 miles from the Province center at Kimwenza and the other is 720 miles away. Sr. Eulalie travels these distances on extremely difficult and often treacherous roads.

Continue reading Sisters Coordinate Medical Services

Health Pastoral on the Island of Marajó, Brazil

By Sister Maria Socorro Oliveira da Silva, SNDdeN

Health care is a primary concern for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur on the Island of Marajó, Pará, Brazil. They initiated a Health Pastoral on this island to provide support, spiritual encouragement, information about the rights of infirm persons, and to offer an alternative mode for treating illnesses. They encourage good health and healing by natural means, with fewer chemicals in the body, when possible and feasible.

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Sr. Maria Socorro Oliveira da Silva, SNDdeN, prepares herbs for alternative medicines.

The project began with women leaders giving their time in service to alleviate the suffering of people living in poverty who are not able to get to doctors and do not have the money to buy medicine. The Sisters, working with women leaders in the town of Breves, participate in a pastoral approach to health care. They search, through home remedies, to alleviate and cure illness. Sr. Maria Vagner Souza Silva, SNDdeN began the Health Pastoral in the town. Now, Sr. Maria Socorro Oliveira da Silva, SNDdeN visits the sick in the community and meets monthly with the women to discuss what would be the best way to make the home medicines. Her previous two years of experience in health and pastoral care has been beneficial for the people. The Sisters in the local community give support as well to these endeavors.

Experience of Growth
The Health Pastoral offers an alternative for treating illness. In September 2015, the Sisters invited a woman from the mainland who has a long experience in furthering education with home remedies for healing. For three days, the people participated in workshops on remedies for colds, oil for massage and special medicine for anemia. This experience enabled the women leaders, and infirm persons in the neighborhood to have a greater understanding of alternative medicines. The workshops were a great success. The people believe strongly in healing from medicines made with plants and natural herbs. In fact, they usually search out these alternative methods. Now, about 30 families benefit from the consultations and the use of alternative medicine.

The neighborhood has about 4,000 people and is growing every day. The group of seven women, including Sr. Maria, find this outreach demanding. They make home remedies of natural materials: leaves, flowers, barks, oils and water. These remedies sometimes work more slowly than chemicals, and require many visits, but they are generally more effective over the long run, and certainly are less expensive. Receiving invitations from the sick, the volunteer helpers are generous and patient, as they visit monthly about 40 persons in their homes. Since the sick are so weak and frail, even conversations become limited. In all visits, prayer is essential to the healing process. The community of Our Lady of Fatima is the most active in the Parish. The opportunity to serve in this Health Pastoral has called for growth in a spirit of compassion and solidarity in the community. The leaders and volunteers rely on two important ingredients for this service: the love of the sick and faith in the loving action of the good God.

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Sr. Maria Socorro Oliveira da Silva, SNDdeN, (second from the end) with her pastoral team, prepare alternative medicines for sick and infirm neighbors.

GW June 2016 – Health Pastoral on the Island of Marajo, Brazil

Good Works Archives on sndden.org

AH! THE WONDER OF LIGHT, WATER AND COMMUNICATIONS

APP-2015-iconConceived from Sr. Lorraine’s vision of connecting our Sisters in Africa to places beyond their isolated villages, the African Photovoltaic Project (APP) began to take shape in 2003. Today, the dream has become a reality in Fugar and Awkunanaw, Nigeria and in Kitenda, Lemfu, Ngidinga and Pelende, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with wonderful life changes and options. Convents, schools and clinics/hospital in two countries are now experiencing life with electricity for lighting, refrigeration, water purification and communications. Rooms set up with basic technology equipment in these ministries provide access to the Internet for teachers, primary and secondary classes as well as health care personnel. The Congo compounds organize these facilities by using available materials. Now, the wider community also benefits from technology at these four sites.

Good Works, November 2013, pp. 8-9, 13
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SNDs Open Clinic in Kimwenza, Congo

Sr Adrienne, an SND NurseThe people of Kimwenza, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its surrounding villages marveled at the opening of the René de Haes Health and Maternity Center (Centre de Santé/Maternité René De Haes), a new health care ministry of the Congo-Kinshasa Province. In a poor and confined milieu, adjoining the property of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Monseigneur Fidèle Nsielele, Bishop of the Kisantu Diocese, officiated at the opening of this center (“the Clinic”) on October 31, 2009. Many religious, civil and political leaders joined the SNDs and the people for a joyous ceremony of blessing, marking direct access to a clinic in this area, so deprived of medical care for those living in poverty. Continue Reading: SNDsOpenClinicinKimwenza, Congo

Lent Week Two
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