Katoka Hospital has seen it's first case of covid this week. Thankfully the lady concerned is responding to treatement and making a good recovery. However, it is an indication that covid is making it's way to some of the most remote areas of Congo, having previously been mainly concentrated in the cities and urban areas. Thankfully test kits are now readily available in the area which will enable cases to be quickly identified and treated. Mary is pleased to be back from her visit to the UK where she was able to get her two covid vaccines. She assisted in the birth of a very healthly baby boy earlier this week, both parents were delighted! The schools in the area didn't start as planned last week as the teachers were on strike due issues of pay. It is hoped this can be quickly resolved so pupils can start their studies again. Like many parts of the world school was disrupted during the last academic year due to covid.
It has been a busy few months at Katoka Hospital. The heavy rains continued well into May making travel and transport of medcines and patients a real challenge. There is a concern about increasing cases of malnutrition in children. This is thought to be partly due to the closure of the border with Angola due to covid-19. This has prevented the transport of protein rich fish and chicken from Angola which the local population rely on. The hospital has recently been able to support Daniella, a baby with a tumour to travel to Lusaka the captial of Zambia with her parents for a life saving operation. The operation went well and Mary asks people to pray that this baby will make a full recovery. Mary reports that it has been sad to see the numbers of children being brought to hospital due to hunger and starvation. Mary returned to the UK in May to see family and have her covid-19 vaccines. She plans to return to Katoka at the end of July.
At the end of last year we received food from the Government to distributed to malnourished patients. A month ago a delegation from Medecin Sans Frontiere (MSF) France came to see how we'd used the food aid at the hospital and the local community as well as to examine the patients at Katoka Hospital.
They stayed overnight and were very impressed with our hospital kitchen, the soya milk, beans, eggs, mogoes and banana distribution, providing much needed nutrients and vitimins to help our patients on the road to full health.
Last week we had a message from Dilolo (our nearest town on the border with Angola, approximately 40 kilometres away) asking us to come and collect more food for the nutrition programme. Unfortunatley due to heavy rain and the bad state of the road we were unable to drive to collect the food aid. Thankfully some of the hospital staff were able to get through to Dilolo on motorbikes and returned with a sack of fish, 150 tins of sardines and eggs. Amazingly they weren't broken despite the state of the roads!
We thankyou so much for all your support which enables us to continue to support the needy population in our area with practical health care and spiritual support.
Great progress is being made on the Katoka Primary School building. Roofing iron has been purchased over the border in Angola and it's great to see it going on! This is particularly important as the rainy season has already started. Lightening struck the solar panel system at Mary and Sandy's house, thankfully it has been quickly repaired. School children have returned to school recently in Congo and we hope that this building will welcome it's first school children during 2021. This will make an emormous difference to the lives of children, enabling them to study in a good quality school building. It is our prayer that it will lead to many lives being enabled and helped towards a brighter future. Thank you so much for all your support in making this happen!
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