As you walk in to the St. Andrews Baby Unit in Kandara these days, it’s a very different place compared to a few months ago. Instead of a room full of babies in cots and one or two learning to walk or talk, there are now eight infants in the main room and just three younger babies in cots. This also means that the noise levels have increased as the eight scream excitedly and try to say their first words.
The baby unit has proved to be a valuable asset to the local community and has taken in a number of babies who have been orphaned or abandoned in school playgrounds, by the river or in the marketplace. All babies must be registered with the local authorities before being brought to the unit and the proper procedures followed in order to ensure all documentation is up to date and the baby has no relatives able to care for it. Once they reach the unit, no matter what their background is they are guaranteed the shelter and care that they need.
Thanks to a Vision Africa supporter, a nurse now pays a weekly visit to the baby unit and checks over each baby. Despite the high levels of care provided, we were saddened to hear the news that a second baby had passed away due to the viral pneumonia that swept through the local area claiming the lives of a number of small babies. Baby James was rushed to hospital at the first signs of illness and received good medical attention but unfortunately he wasn’t strong enough to survive. He had been living in the unit for nine months and his loss was felt by the staff.
With a number of the babies having been there for several months, it is encouraging to see them develop and take their first steps in the safe environment of the baby unit. The main room has also been given a facelift by volunteers from the UK who painted some characters on the walls during their recent visit to the unit. With eight small children spending their days in this room, it is great to have the brightly coloured characters to stimulate them...when they are not throwing toys at each other or using small chairs to support them as they race around the room.
One thing that has not changed is the hard work of the staff members who care for the babies. With eleven children to feed, change, clothe, bathe and entertain a shift in the baby unit takes a lot of effort. For those readers used to the modern conveniences imagine, if you can, having eleven babies, no disposable nappies (diapers) and no washing machine. All clothes and towelling nappies are washed by hand every day.
As any parent will testify, babies might be small but they incur large costs. The St. Andrews Baby Unit is partly funded by a cot sponsorship programme which, when fully subscribed, will bring in approximately half of the anticipated running costs. We are therefore very grateful for all donations received through GlobalGiving and donors can be assured that their funds will be put to good use.
Together we can help create brighter futures for these precious babies.
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