What is the HOPE Centre?
A non-clinical, temporary residence for patients and their caregivers who have received surgical services onboard the Africa Mercy. Once discharged from the ship’s hospital, patients and their caregivers stay at the HOPE Centre as they continue to recover and receive follow-up care. For these patients, the HOPE Centre provides a safe, secure, and hygienic facility where patients can reside until they are able to return to their homes. Importantly, the HOPE Centre frees up precious bed space in the hospital wards on the ship. By freeing up beds in the wards, the HOPE Centre allows better optimization of the ship’s surgical capacity.
The two-story structure where the 222 bed HOPE Centre will be was once used as a small business development centre, and the warehouse formerly housed a workshop. Several outbuildings are also present on site and can be used to further expand the planned capacity of the HOPE Centre (guardhouse and gazebo). We selected this site for renovations to enable the buildings to be used as an expansion of the adjacent Nylon District Hospital.
Previously, these premises were used as a business and storage site. With the assistance of the regional government, numerous water storage cubes, plastic storage barrels, and abandoned cars were removed from the site to allow access for renovations to begin. The team has been working on various upgrades to the two existing office buildings allowing for their intended use. The onsite warehouse has received substantial upgrades and redevelopment work making it useable as a HOPE Centre and possibly the Ponseti Clinic. It will later be used by the Ministry of Health.
The Nylon District Hospital
The Nylon District Hospital was originally purpose-built more than 30 years ago as a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic. This 75-bed hospital provides specialties in maternity, gynecology, ophthalmology, internal medicine, radiology and pediatrics. Other available services include a pharmacy, laboratory, and radiology (x-ray and ultrasound). Approximately 75 nurses, seven medical doctors, one gynecologist, and four nurse anesthetists staff this hospital. However, there are no surgeons staffed at this hospital. As needed, the hospital uses visiting surgeons for emergency surgical issues In support of the different services, there is one operating room with a separate recovery room. The hospital serves an estimated 400,000 persons living in the district.
The hospital is often without electricity and there is currently no back-up generator. The hospital grounds are clean and well kept, however, there is a large backlog of waste within the steel fencing that surrounds the incinerator. One person operates this small multi-fuel incinerator installed by MSF for the clinic, which is not always operational. We continue to collaborate with the Nylon District Hospital and the Ministry of Health to complete the renovations and expand the Nylon facility for the long-term.
Throughout our field service in Cameroon, the Hospital Chaplaincy Team will provide prayer, counsel, and comfort to hundreds of patients at the HOPE Centre. Day crew will be visiting the HOPE Centre and spending time with patients and their families, offering their love and support.
We are extremely grateful for the continued support of Canadians for making this renovation possible. We look forward to updating you further, and are excited to fill the 222 beds with patients and their families.
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