Friday, May 1, 2020
The world is talking about "New Norms" when it comes to Coronavirus and what the world is going to look like as a result of battling this. It is hard to know how that applies in PNG and how it applies at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital.
Although we have been in a State of Emergency for the last month, what that looks like for PNG is a bit different than what it looks like for other Western countries. Papua New Guinea doesn't have the ability to educate their kids via online school, or to hold church services online, or to even do telemedicine. These things don't happen in PNG unless they happen face to face.
What has always been normal and continues to be normal at Nazarene Hospital is the number of patients we see who need our help. Just this week, we had a women who had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy with over 2.5L of blood in her abdomen and had she gotten to us much later, I am not sure we would have been able to save her. We had a women who was bleeding in her 8th month of pregnancy who needed a C-section to save her life and the life of her baby. We had a guy who walked for 3 days to get to us, who has a mass near his kidney and needs surgery to remove it. We had a girl who fell and dislocated her hip a month ago, and finally made their way to us, and now has her hip in the right place. We have kids with pneumonia, adults with meningitis and tuberculosis and HIV and much more. We have people who need to hear of Jesus's love for them in the midst of their cancer diagnosis, after becoming a quadriplegic after a car accident, after having their baby die, and so much more.
The new normal for Jiwaka, includes Kudjip Nazarene Hospital still having it's doors open and being able to do surgery, help deliver babies, having immunizations visits and tuberculosis being diagnosed and treated. As a result, we continue to screen those patients who have fever, cough and shortness of breath in our tent, which is now in our parking lot. We have screened over 800 patients now, asking for 7 to be tested, waiting on the results of 5 of them. Thankfully, we have no increase of Respiratory Deaths in the past few months compared to last year, so while we suspect it is here, it doesn't seem to be affecting those we are caring for at this time, and for that we are thankful. We screen them not because we can do something different with them, and not because we can tell if they have Coronavirus in our tent, but because we need to continue to have our whole hospital run. We need to continue to have our staff healthy to care for the kids on pediatric ward and surgical ward. We need our doctors to see be able to take call. We are short of doctors, and until borders open up more, that will be a rate limiting factor to the care we can provide, but we want to keep providing care and we want to keep sharing Jesus, no matter what the new norm is.