Bere Adventist Hospital first opened its doors in 1974. It now serves as the only hospital for a district of 200,000 people. Despite it’s location 42 kilometers from the nearest paved road, and far away from publicly-available electricity and running water, patients come to Bere Adventist Hospital from every corner of Tchad. The majority of our patients come from outside of the Bere Health District. In fact, during the last couple years, Bere Adventist Hospital has treated citizens from every neighboring country (Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Sudan and Libya), and also those from every inhabited continent who find themselves ill while working or living in Chad.
Bere Adventist Hospital is known for many things. We perform more surgeries than any other hospital in Chad. We were the only hospital to remain open during the civil war. We are the only hospital to never have gone on strike. Our commitment to patient care is unparalleled. Recognizing our service, the International Healthcare Commission awarded Bere Adventist Hospital the title of Best International Hospital in the country of Chad.
In the last few years, Bere Adventist Hospital has seen impressive sustainable growth. Income has tripled with patient volume doubling to tripling on all services. In addition, fenced-in acreage has tripled, square footage under roofs and with concrete has tripled, patient beds have increased dramatically, staffing has more than doubled and we have installed the first electronic medical record system in the country of Chad. Most of this unprecedented physical growth is in large part due to a group of volunteers who came via ‘Maranatha’, a faith-based non-governmental organization. They sent five containers of materials and built prefabricated structures, which are currently being used as a pediatric ward, a maternity ward, a labor and delivery unit, a prenatal consultation unit, two other patient wards, a public health building treating mostly malnourished children and HIV-positive or tuberculosis-positive patients, a laboratory, a pharmacy, a cashier’s office, to patient-family sleeping quarters, a kitchen, a meeting area, housing, several storage sites and our one-year-old nursing school! We have been incredibly blessed.
However, ‘Maranatha’ is not a medical organization and was not able to acquire medical supplies. So we still have an intensive care unit, an outpatient center, an ophthalmology office, a dental office, a pre-operative waiting area and two surgical operating theaters yet completely and entirely unfurnished. It is with the funding we receive that we have been able to accomplish what we have done and the patient-generated income that we pay all our bills. However, the price of medical equipment prevents us from being able to realize our dream of completing our intensive care unit and our operating theaters.
As we stand, we are a fully functioning hospital and we current perform over 1200 major surgeries each year, all cycled through one single operating room. It is sadly all-too common for one surgeon the push his surgical table to the side slightly while another surgeon is required to bring a second emergency patient into the same operating room on a stretcher. They then operate side-by-side, the routine surgery which had started and has already been anesthetized, with the emergency surgery right next to them. This is obviously far from ideal, for reasons from anesthesia and monitoring to lighting and suction and supplies to surgeon freedom of movement to patient sterility and infection prevention and bleeding cessation, not to mention privacy. Supplying our two new operating theaters will allow us to provide high quality care in a safe and comfortable manner. In addition, during busier months our operating room will process through 200 surgeries or more. Being that there is only one theater in which the surgeons can work, the logistics often require the surgeons to operate from six o'clock in the morning until eight o’clock at night, taxing the team in a way that would be completely unnecessary were all three operating rooms functional.
Lastly, we have noticed the severe and desperate need for quality surgical care in Chad specifically, but also in Africa in general. We are hoping to become the first Adventist hospital in West and Central Africa to be accredited as a Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) surgical training center. With the medical equipment, we will be able to do just that, training the next generation of African surgeons to care for patients and save lives.
Adventist Health International - Tchad, our managing body, is committed to educating Africans. As it is, just last week we approved supporting five Chadians through medical school, as well as all the Chadian nurses we are supporting through Master’s programs. The addition of a surgical training center to our already existing nursing school, along with our unwavering commitment to seeing Chadian doctors and doctors-in-training succeed, would lift the country of Chad from the lower echelons of medical care on the continent.
In various recent years from various sources, Chad has been credited with the world’s worst maternal mortality rate, the world's worst neonatal mortality rate, the world’s worst under-5 mortality rate and was named both The Worst Country in the World to be a Woman (due in no minor part to the atrocious maternal mortality rate) and The Worst Place in the World for a Child to Fall Sick. These are the reasons we are here. These are the reasons we work. These are the reasons we serve. With a little outside material help, we can train surgeons and we can change the reality for hundreds of thousands of Chadians, and the continent at large.
Of note, we have agreements with two different Chadian government ministries, including one with the Ministry of Health, allowing us to import medical equipment duty free.
Bere Adventist Hospital has a decades-long track record of success and service. But when we perform all deliveries, Cesareans, ectopic pregnancies, gastric and intestinal perforations, incarcerated and strangulated hernias and bowel resections, laparotomies and appendectomies, trauma surgeries and all other emergency surgeries completely free of charge, along with all the non-surgical care and medicines and supplies we give for free to emergency patients or those in challenging social and economic situations, and when elective surgeries such as hysterectomies are done for less than $100, it is impossible to make the leaps and bounds required to provide sophisticated and modern medical care that new equipment would allow.
The infrastructure is solid. The buildings are built. The buildings have electricity. The buildings have plumbing. But the buildings are empty inside. We are ready to go. We simply need the medical equipment. Our intensive care unit and our operating theaters are vacant, calling for completion and eager to treat patients.
Our staff are ready. And more of our people are in nursing school, master’s programs and medical school ready to come and serve. And outfitting our hospital with medical equipment would not only allow excellent quality care, it would give our well-placed team the opportunity to train the country’s best nurses and some of the greatest surgeons on the continent.
We know there are many great organizations doing good work across the world, and all eager to have your prayers and support. We thank you for considering the small effort we give here as worthy of your consideration. We look forward to working hand-in-hand and side-by-side with you to make this world we live in a little better.
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