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Future of Kissy Clinic projected in vision of Sierra Leone's bishop

"We need to make a difference in the lives of children." - Bishop Joseph Humper

INDIANAPOLIS - Hoosiers discussed the future of our partnered United Methodist hospital in Sierra Leone with the United Methodist Bishop of Sierra Leone during a three-hour meeting at the Indiana Area office on April 7.

Bishop Joseph C. Humper met with the Operation Classroom/Operation Doctor Area Committee members to discuss the future of the Kissy Health and Maternity Center located in a suburb of Freetown, Sierra Leone. The clinic has now grown to the status of a hospital under the partnership between the Sierra Leone United Methodist Conference and Operation Doctor.

According to Humper, the Health and Maternity Center has developed tremendously under the leadership of Dr. Dennis Marke. History was made on Jan. 24 with the completion and dedication of the operating room and ward and elevating the clinic to full hospital status.

Kissy has become the main hospital on the east end of Freetown, Humper told 12 committee members gathered for his visit.

"At this stage as Resident Bishop, I deem it necessary to articulate my visions and dreams for the new hospital spanning the period 2006 to 2011," he said.

Humper said the present state of the hospital needs renovation. It already has inadequate facilities to serve the growing patient number. Growing services calls for repartitioning the facility to fulfill those services and immediate needs. Cubicle spaces for doctors need to be expanded into office space.

Vision for infrastructure development

In Humper's vision for Kissy's infrastructure, he foresees:

  • Construction of a guest house building for visitors with its own power sources,

  • A maternity out-patient building to accommodate 200 patients at time including facilities for immunization and child health training, and

  • A new two-story building including, emergency room with X-ray and administrative offices for chief medical officer, financial area and a conference room for the Telemed program.

In addition to the infrastructure, Humper says the hospital will need its own power system with solar backup, a bus, two vehicles for doctors, a van for hauling goods and materials and a ambulance.

On other parts of the hospital complex, Humper foresees:

  • Hospital staff housing to provide for medical personnel on call for midwives, surgeons, anesthesiologists and surgical assistants, and

  • A school of nursing which would include the cost of training at least two RNs as tutors estimated to cost $12,000 per person per year.

Future plans also call for a series of scholarships for training within and outside of Sierra Leone, and volunteers to come to Sierra Leone to train staff, repair equipment and "take back a first-hand account of not only the services offered at Kissy but also of the needs," he said.

Two programs now growing at Kissy are the HIV-AIDS testing and education, and the nutrition program. Humper said Kissy is the only hospital involved in a program catering to the nutritional needs of malnourished children living in the east-end communities of Freetown. Currently, Kissy feeds 40 children at a time on high nutrient formula. The program supplements a diet of rice three times a day.

"Again," said Humper, "My vision is to have this program replicated in our UMC clinics and in the provinces. We need to make a difference in the lives of children. Our vision needs to be articulated now."

Beyond 2011

"My visions and dreams can go beyond the next five years. These are achievable visions and dreams with the production of a comprehensive plan of action by Operation Doctor," Humper said. Goals need to be ranked as immediate, short term and long term.

In closing he said the future of Kissy Hospital is around this table - not narrowly but broadly.

During the question and answer session that followed, many committee members were concerned with the existing use of property and where the hospital could physically expand. Questions surfaced around the acquisition of land and locating the church building now on campus to a new location to free up space for the expanding hospital. One concern is that the hospital is land-locked.

By the conclusion of the session, members felt that they needed to go Kissy to review the use of the property, requesting a halt to future leasing of property and walk the plan provided in architectural drawings that Humper brought to the meeting.

Some of the immediate needs at the hospital include food and supplies for the nutrition and AIDS/HIV programs.

For more information about Operation Doctor and Kissy Hospital, log on to www.operationclassroom.org and http://gbgm-umc.org/health/kissy/ or call 765-436-2805.