At home everybody knows him. It has got brown and soft nice skin, long ears, on his menu carrots are favorites. Here in Haydom the Easter-Bunny looks a little different. Hanging – rather than standing ears, long tail instead of rabbit-teeth. Instead of Easter Bunny I have had visit from Maya a 7 Week old baby dog. Together we had been buying and painting 70 Easter Eggs ( no more eggs left in Haydom at that time) and on Easter Sunday both of us visited the children on the pediatric Lena Ward to bring chocolate, Eggs and some smiles in the faces of the little ones.  Although the Easter Tradition of painted hard boiled eggs and Chocolate is not a Tanzanian custom, it had worked out as well here.

When I look back at the last 6 Month of my stay here, a lot has already changed. You don´t realize because changes normally take a while and go Pole Pole or Step by Step here. There is and has been a lot of help from home and from many other people. Some of the help was brought directly, hidden in extra suitcases and extra bags from visitors who had rather left some personal items home to fill the allowed amount of luggage with things for the ward and the children. Some was sent via DHL in packages. Everything has found its place. The container sent from Hamburg in Germany with all the equipment for the operating theater, the monitors, the ventilators, the equipment for the pediatric ward, everything has finally arrived. Now we have monitor controlled procedures in theater, the babies on the neonatal department have their perfusor controlled i.v. fluid replacement, on Lena ward they have even built a special shelf for all the new pulsoxymeter that are now constantly plugged in the wall for charging while not used. Haydom Hospital has performed its first pediatric ECG under exercise. The young boy had to exercise on the bike of the physiotherapy department while the new ECG machine printed out a nice piece of paper with his RealTime ECG…On the ward the Nebulization therapy with Nebulizer and Salbutamol became daily routine with the two new Nebulizers and now there is a new and second row of patients each day waiting for their turn at the nebulizer. Two neurosurgical Departments in Germany had been sending new VP shunts for the Hydrocephalus children so after I had run out of them I am able to perform this type of surgery again to help those kids. The number of postoperative patients that have received a cerebral shunt like this and that are regular coming back has now increased to 12 and the hydrocephalus and spina bifida patients and parents already start to recognize each other when they come for follow ups after having spent some time together in the same room with their children.

With the progress of the new maternity ward we have managed to locally separate the main maternity from the neonatology that means there are two major rooms now, one for the preterm babies that need extra warming  by heater and separation and another room with small baby beds and a resuscitation table for the sick term babies. The newest project that Irene, a neonatal nurse from Norway, and I are trying to establish again is the kangoroo care method where the mother or  father puts the undressed newborn on his or her naked chest and wraps a warm blanket around. That helps to bond parents and child together and also keeps the infant in a nice an healthy body temperature. That brings me to tell the story of the old “dentist-chair” of Haydom that finally has found its purpose. One thing is a fact, the Tanzanians seems much less fearful in terms of dentist visits than the western population. Some weeks ago some helpers have found an old dentist chair in one of the containers. First they were thinking it might be useful as an gynecological examination chair and brought it to the maternity ward where it was rejected by obstetric nurses and doctors. But Irene and me had mercy and gave it a new home in the Preterm Room 20, not knowing yet for what for. The next day the mothers demanded to sit on this huge and rather technical and expensive looking dentist chair for their “Kangorooh hour” rather than on the special made wooden chair with soft cover. Now the dentist chair is very popular among the mothers and they take turns every day to sit on it with the infant. Some even fall asleep in it. So it finally has found its purpose and everybody is happy!

Heri ya Pasaka / Happy Easter!