Day 3

Tuesday, our third day in Rwanda was a critical one for our mission.  We met with the top two leaders from each of the hospitals we intend to work with in order to present our plan to help them improve their Hand Hygiene and Patient Identification practices.  We also presented a proposal for the leaders of the four hospitals to form a Collaborative Leadership Group (CLG), which will encourage the leaders to work closely together and to share and learn from one another’s experiences.  We gave presentations on our progress in Rwanda in 2013 and 2014, then each hospital presented summaries of the progress they had each made in response to our recommendations last year to help them achieve Joint Commission International Certification. We presented a short course on Leadership.  We began the Hand Hygiene and Patient Identification initiatives.
What was the response of the leaders?  Nothing short of fantastic.  They were engaged, enthusiastic, committed.  The day could not have gone better.
Here are some photos from that day:

photo 1

Dispatch from Day 2 in Rwanda—Monday, July 21

On Monday, our second day here in Rwanda, the entire Steering Committee for Mercy4ubuzima—comprised of Cindy Carmichael, Cathy Dirickson, Reagan Hightower, John Nkuranga, Donald Rahhal and Laurie Weathers—revisited the four hospitals that we reviewed in 2013.
 We were received warmly at each hospital.  All were interested in working with us to implement our first pair of initiatives: Hand Hygiene and Patient Identification.  The relationships that John Nkuranga has maintained in Rwanda have provided a great foundation of trust between our steering committee and those we are working with here.  Without this spirit of collaboration, our mission would not function and be fruitful in the way that it has been so far.
         photo 5-2
We were interested and pleased to see some of the creative practices that these hospitals are using in lieu of more expensive supplies and methods. As pictured below, one of the hospitals has fashioned “wheel chairs” by attaching wheels and foot rests to plastic lawn chairs.  At another (bottom right photo), a mother of twins uses the “Kangaroo Care” technique.  When providing “Kangaroo Care,” a mother maintains skin-to-skin contact with her infants for extended periods of time.  This practice has many benefits, and most importantly provides security, encourages breast-feeding, and helps to regulate the body temperatures of premature babies.  In areas where incubators are not available, this method has been shown to be an effective alternative. In fact, most Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) in the United States use Kangaroo Care instead of or in addition to traditional and more technologically advanced methods of neonatal care.
      (For more on Kangaroo Care, check out the World Health Organization,, or the information on the        Cleveland Clinic’s site.)
One of the hospitals we visited had come up with a clever substitute for wheel chairs.          
Tuesday will be a very important day.  We have invited 2 leaders from each hospital, the Vice Mayor, a physician from the Mayor’s office and a representative of the Minister of Health to a full-day meeting at our hotel in order to discuss the progress they’ve made in implementing the recommendations we made last year, and to seek their “buy-in” of our project.  We are eager to hear what has been accomplished in the last year, as this will determine how the rest of the week goes.
Check back with our blog soon for a report of the progress that’s been made an update on what our potential next steps might be!

First report from the Steering Committee for Mercy4ubuzima

A group of 6 of us traveled to Kigali. We will be joined by Di Smalley and Mike O’Neil later in the week.

Sunday we attended church as guests of the Vice Mayor Hope Tumukunde at the Christian Life Assembly Church. The church has a large congregation; we attended the second service at which there were about 1500 members present. We could see immediately why the attendance was so large. The powerful service was conducted in English, and the music was truly wonderful and inspirational. They had a visiting choir from an Anglican church with which they have a very good relationship. The Anglican choir sang Hallelujah in both English and kinyarwanda. The pastor’s message was one of the best any of us have ever heard. His delivery was filled humorous and moving, and this message eloquently demonstrated the scripture that the sermon was based upon.

After church we met as a group to finalize plans for Monday, which will be primarily devoted to re-connecting with the four hospitals we surveyed last year by visiting each of them. We are very excited to revisit these hospitals and to continue our mission here.

Below are photos of our group at at the Hotel Serena in Kigali, our group outside the church, and of choir performing at the church.

Check back with our blog soon for updates on our activities and progress in Kigali!