Tuesday, January 4, 2011

#9 Begging

So we’ve written enough blogs that we feel we can now ask for favors.

We’ve been here a few weeks and we’ve begun to take an assessment of our challenges and our needs.
OUR FIRST AND GREATEST NEED IS FOR YOUR PRAYERS. We know you are already praying for us, but we NEED you to make it a point to pray for us daily. Stop reading and pray for us now. We KNOW that the devil is trying to make our job difficult, but we also KNOW that with your prayers, we will be able to overcome all of our challenges.
One of our greatest obstacles is our ‘MCD,’ which stands for Medical Director for the District, essentially. It’s a position that could be of great use to us. Such a person could help us join research and open our availability to experimental medications. They could help up with projects to supply clean water, to vaccinate the population, to encourage prenatal care, etc. The possibilities are genuinely endless.
Unfortunately, our current MCD has his own agenda, which includes taking over our hospital. Our hospital is different, because we are a private, Seventh-day Adventist hospital. We have an agreement with the government that we will provide all the services of a district hospital, however. So we are the only hospital in this district. Thus we are the only object of our MCD’s energy. If we are not on our toes, he swoops in and changes our protocols and intimidates our staff. Part of me thinks he is trying to do the right thing, but is just misguided. The greater part of me thinks he is just trying to flex his muscles and show he has power by changing things and manipulating people. His changes are under the guise of government protocols, but in reality, the protocols are just miles behind what the right thing is to do for the patient. His changes are not good for our population.
He continues to try to involve himself in our hospital finances and functions. He will show up and perform rounds with the nurses while we are busy and changes our orders in ways that are not acceptable. It makes things confusing for the staff and the patients. It is truly a huge problem.
We desperately need your prayers that this man leaves or begins performing more productive things for this district.
We also need your prayers that the nursing staff will develop a relationship and a trust in us. Right now, we are trying to change a few things that are well known to be either dangerous or useless, but are bumping up against some ‘well that’s how we’ve always done it here’ reasoning.
As for more concrete challenges...
The government here started a program coinciding with our arriving. The program is that any patient who is critically ill, gets free medications, etc if they can’t pay. Most of our patients qualify as critically ill. And we can’t make any money off of our medications, which is where we typically make most of our money. So in order to pay our nurses, we need to find alternative sources of income.
Our nurses are dedicated and excellent (most of them) and could make more money at a government hospital. Many of them earn less than $2,000/year. None of them earn over $5,000/year. Our hospital administrator earns less than $7,000/year. The nurses work at our hospital because they like what we are doing.
We will not accept donations that go to paying staff salaries. We firmly believe that the only hope for this hospital is to be fiscally responsible and solvent. We must be able to earn the money to pay the salaries. Donations to pay salaries will open up a floodgate of mooching off the west and not being self-reliant. Donations should go to projects and one-time projects only. All on-going costs must be earned by the hospital.
Danae and I are trying to earn all the money we can for the hospital. Mostly this is through elective things. Pre-natal and post-natal care, delivery, surgery and ultrasounds. Particularly useful is ultrasound, because 100% of the money paid goes to the hospital. The only cost is the cost of electricity. We are getting people coming from N’Djamena, the capital, six hours away to have an ultrasound!!! These patients can pay $20 for an ultrasound (enough to pay a day’s wages for several nurses).
However, our ultrasound machine will be leaving us for James Appel’s surgical center in Moundou this summer. Without an ultrasound machine, there will be a huge void in the hospital budget.
Another large possibility for income would be an x-ray machine. Right now, we need to send patients to Moundou, several hours away for a simple x-ray. The only two towns for an x-ray are N’Djamena and Moundou. We would be the only x-ray for several hours in any direction. We could certainly attract business with an x-ray machine. Patients and income would come from all the surrounding districts. (And we can charge patients from outside districts more!) The only cost is electricity and film, which is easily offset by what we can charge the patients, not to mention we will likely gain the business of all of their medical treatment.
In fact, we have paid the tuition for a radiology technician and he is waiting for us to get an x-ray machine so he can start working for us.

A third option we have thought about is a nursing school. We would immediately be the most prestigious nursing school outside of the capital, and we believe we could quickly be the most prestigious nursing school in the country.
To make this an easier option, we would need to have nursing lectures recorded at a French-language nursing school. We could air these lectures in a classroom and get by with likely one lone nursing professor in the classroom, an administrator and we could use our excellent nurses as clinical professors. We also frequently have volunteer nurses and student nurses who could help teach.
We would also need textbooks, preferably the same text that the French-language nursing school is using. Perhaps after a year of recording their lectures, they would move on to new textbooks and we could use their old ones
It would bring patients to the hospital and tuition income to the hospital.

Lastly, we have thought of beginning a computer/internet school. I believe this would be the first outside of the capital, perhaps in the country. The people here recognize the computer movement as an integral part of keeping up with the world, but simply don’t have the opportunity to gain the knowledge. I believe we could attract people from across the country with such a school. If we could find donated computers (or very cheap computers) and if we could find a student missionary to teach the classes, our only costs would be electricity and satellite internet.
We would gain income through tuition. We would also bring more people to the area, which means more patients. Lastly, Danae and I could use the satellite internet as a means of ‘reporting back to the brethren at Jerusalem.’ We could be broadcasted to your local church, taped or live, which would help us raise money for other projects.

You Might be in Tchad if...
It’s the fourth straight day you’ve been in the hospital in the same scrubs without taking a shower. So? So what if it’s not the first time that’s happened? So?

You will notice on our blog, missionarydoctors.blogspot.com, that we have a link for donations. This is through Adventist Health International’s website. Please keep in mind that AHI takes 10% of the donation for administrative costs. However, AHI also provides us with invaluable support, and we believe strongly in the mission of AHI. We feel that AHI is an organization worth supporting. And remember that your gift is 100% tax-deductible.
As always, we can be reached at danae.netteburg@gmail.com.
Olen Tigo: 98 07 46 28
Olen Zain: 62 16 04 93
Danae Tigo: 98 07 46 27
Danae Zain: 62 17 04 80
Olen et Danae Netteburg
Hopital Adventiste de Bere
52 Boite Postale
Kelo, Tchad
Volunteers Welcome!!!

PS. I thought I'd share what my very thoughtful and creative mother sent us. It really helps give us some deeper meaning to what we're doing daily.

Ronnie's Revised Version

Genesis 12 The LORD Chooses DOL (Danae, Olen, Lyol) The LORD said to DOL: Leave America, your families and your Baystate and go to the land that I will show you. I will bless you and make your descendants trustworthy and honorable, worshiping me. You may not become famous but you will be a blessing to others. I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone in Chad will be blessed because of you... When they came to the land of Chad, DOL went as far as the sacred Adventist hospital in a place called Bere. The Chadians were still living in the land at that time, but the LORD appeared to DO and promised, "I will give these people to be blessed and healed by you." DO then built an altar in their home for the LORD.

Ephesians 1:17-21 Mom asks the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you His Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you Danae in Oklahoma, and you Olen in Minnesota when you were born. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God's people.
I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for His followers. It is the same wonderful power He used when He raised Christ from death and let Him sit at His right side in Heaven. There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well.

Psalm 121 The LORD Will Protect His People
We look to the sandy land! Where will we find help?
It will come from the LORD, who created the heavens
and the earth, human bodies that He can make whole.
The LORD is our protector, and He nor we will go to sleep
until the work is done.
The Protector of us doesn't doze or ever get drowsy.
The LORD is our physician, there at our medical site to shade me from
the 120 degree sun and to give us wisdom.
We won't be harmed by the contagious diseases during the day
or by the malarial mosquitos at night.
The LORD will protect us and keep us safe from all dangers.
The LORD will protect us now and always wherever we go.


  1. You guys have some exciting ideas!

  2. We have the ultrasound for you! Just wish we could find a way to get it to you now. You are doing wonderful work there. You should stop doubting yourselves and your decisions and be very proud. God Bless!

  3. Olen and Danae rarely have a chance to do internet. They would love to communicate the information re equipment directly to danae's email: danae.netteburg@gmail.com