Recently we received a letter of the Chief Medical Officer in Charge to donate a ventilator. This is a breathing machine that has been in the news a lot regarding Corona. As a board we want to respond to his plea.
Following we tell you why and ask you to donate to help us to reach that goal.
Mount Meru Regional Referral Hospital is a large government hospital in Arusha Tanzania. It is the hospital where students of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences do their practicals. It serves a large area for cheap healthcare. In Tanzania, people are mostly not insured. They have to pay doctors bills at the moment of treatment. Government hospitals provide healthcare at low rates, but therefor not all care is available.
In this kind of hospitals, there is a lack of many things compared to Western World standards. Rooms are large, containing numbers up to fourteen beds. Supplies of medication, treatment and possibilities of treatment are all basic. For example in this hospital, the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) is not equipped with oxygen from wall sockets like in hospitals we know. Patients that need oxygen get it from cilinders. For each patient, a cilinder is needed. A project is ongoing, to implement piping for oxygen to every bed (as well as in neonatal unit, where they have the same challenge on oxygen supply to newly born).
No ventilator is available, so critically ill patients who temporarily cannot breathe by themselves cannot be admitted in this ICU.
In the Emergency Department is a ventilator available. The goal of the Emergency Department is to treat patients to be able to send them home, or to stabilise them to admit them into the wards. If no additional treatment is possible, they need to be referred to other healthcare facilities who offer more care.
It means that if a patient has come to the Emergency Department and needs to be on a ventilator, this will be done. But then, the patient will be referred to another hospital because there is no follow up in management within this hospital’s wards. The transfer will happen with a manually operated balloon. The risk involving these transfers is large.
For a patient, it also means a transfer to a very expensive hospital or to a hospital which is at a two hours drive from Arusha.
Reason and timing of the request
This hospital is designated a Corona-hospital, which means all cases in the region will be admitted here. The hospital is creating a special Corona-camp, a little distance away from the hospital buildings.
The hospital is quickly trying to prepare for a spread of the Covid-19 virus. The hospital is trying its best to be ready for new cases of Corona.
The camp looks like the ones we have seen in Ebola treatment. In the tents, the people who are sick will be treated. In a separate building, patients can recover afterwards until they are tested negative and may leave the hospital.
That building is very old and needs updating so that the rooms are self contained and patients do not have to leave that room for example to go to the toilet. There are many things that need to be done to receive and keep the patients in isolation.
But then, which kind of management is possible to treat these patients? Since Covid-19 is a virus that attacks the lungs, oxygen is of high importance. With the cilinders, people can be helped in the tents but there is an imminent need of a ventilator for serious cases. Of course, one ventilator may not be enough to treat all, but at least some patients may benefit of availability of critical care.
For Corona patients, referral to other hospitals is not possible because of the risk to spread the virus. They will have to stay in Mount Meru Regional Referral Hospital.
Maybe that one ventilator can save some lives.
We ask everyone to help us by donating any amount. This is possible to transfer into bank number NL85 BUNQ 2041 3448 14, BIC BUNQNL2A with account name Stichting Lighthouse Support. Please mention Ventilator in the text.
It is also possible to donate by this link if you have a Dutch bank account: https://bunq.me/lighthouse
Thank you so much!