Drought in Kenya infiltrates hospitals

By September 25, 2009

Kenya (MNN) — According to BBC News, the drought in Kenya has already left nearly 4 million people in need of food aid and has now begun to infiltrate Kenyan hospitals.

Nearly everyone in Kenya is feeling the effects of the drought on some level. Those who live in rural areas have had minimal crop growth, which has inflicted starvation and minimized finances. Many rely heavily on their livestock, but cattle and other animals are dying off with no grass to eat.

Those in urban slums are affected just as seriously, certainly by the over 100 percent increase in food costs, but also by another factor. Those who live in the city generally rely on small businesses to survive. But these businesses are run mostly on hydroelectricity.  Because the rivers have been so low, electricity is so scarce that it has to be rationed. According to Jack Muthui with CURE International, businesses are only getting electricity about twice a week and therefore are becoming virtually unsustainable.

The Africa Inland Church CURE International Children’s Hospital in Kenya has been affected on every one of these levels. Muthui, the executive director of the hospital, says “the situation is getting dire.”

The electricity shortage has not bypassed the hospital. Although, Muthui says, the government would usually spare hospitals from cutbacks in electricity, the shortage is bad enough that this time is an exception.

“Three working days a week, we have to run the generator, which is costing [the hospital] an additional $6000 a month—just to run this generator,” says Muthui. “[This is] in addition to the rising cost of food for feeding the patients and their caregivers.”

Feeding patients is becoming more costly, not just because of food prices but also because of increased stay time.

“Some of them come and they haven’t been eating properly, so some of them have to wait longer before having their surgery,” Muthui explains. “We feed them and give them vitamins so they can go for surgery.”

Since CURE International is dedicated to a 50-50 approach of physical and spiritual healing in their ministry, the best hope for these longer stays is that it will allow the hospital a longer time to minister to its patients. Still, more time comes at a high price.

Out of all that needs to be done, Muthui says the greatest need is prayer. “We really need prayer for transformation in the country, for the leadership and also for unity among the Kenyans.”

Pray also that the Lord would make His name known by allowing this CURE hospital to be a safe haven in the midst of turmoil. To learn more about the AIC CURE International Children’s Hospital, click here. To help support CURE International’s ministry in general, click here.

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