Steadfast Dedication at Work
On a recent visit to Korle-Bu, I found myself moved and excited by KBFF’s mission. Dr Eunice Adei, a KBFF board member, and a fellow classmate made arrangements for us to meet. The scene at the hospital was all too familiar, but I observed ongoing renovations of several of the old buildings.
We met at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where Eunice works, and where a significant portion of the organizations funding is channeled to cover the hospital fees for the children. I was glad to see Eunice. Our last encounter had been over a year ago also in Ghana. I knew she had been working all day with little breaks, but, she looked pretty energetic. She gave me a brief tour of the unit, and introduced me to the friendly hospital staff. Nurse matron Theresa, a middle-aged woman was very impressed and touched by the generosity of our donors and of KBFF’s work and mission.
After my brief introduction to the staff, Eunice directed me to a room that housed the detained children. The mothers of these children were present at that time to feed their babies. Eunice had to leave to attend to other patients in the NICU so I stayed to have a chat with these mothers.
I found the women to be very receptive, as they shared their stories with me. There were three of them, ages 27, 23, and 21. They were all new mothers and all had undergone C-section deliveries. As a result, they owed money at the maternity unit for the C-section deliveries and also incurred charges at the NICU for child care cost. Hospital regulations allowed mothers to enter the NICU every three hours beginning at 6am till 12 am to breast-feed their babies. I enjoyed my chat with these women, but I knew what was absolutely needed to make their day. Money!
At the time of my visit, the KBFF budget was severely limited and hardly able to cover the medical fees for one child. To their credit, the hospital staff, in an ad hoc attempt at financial aid, were willing to support families that were able to contribute some portion of their fees. Such attempts presented challenges, particularly in a country where it is almost impossible to verify one’s financial standing.
One could argue that the KBFF assistance is a handout which is bound to attract con artists. However, I find it hard to believe that for the sake of money, a new mother would chose detention over the freedom to enjoy her baby at home amongst friends and family. Such a choice even if it were made, when the possibility of scraping together the resource was not hopeless, could itself be read as a desperate plea for help.
One cannot help but be moved by the scene of a new mother breast feeding on a bare terrazzo floor. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the diligence and earnestness of the hospital staff who are natural partners in our mission. I left with a renewed sense of dedication which I have tried to convey here. Please keep giving.
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