29 November 2005

Pakistan Day 4

Chapel service – Faith preaches about God providing all our needs.

OPD is even busier today. Word has spread in Bannu town that there is visiting ENT and Paediatrician, so they are all coming in. Every man looks like a Taliban or Mujahideen who could run me down with a camel or riddle me with bullets. The women look like walking fortresses in their Burqas. What false preconceptions we harbour. Instead they are humble, beautiful and loving people as vulnerable and needful as any other people in the world. I am greatly humbled to be able to perform a myringotomy for one such man who is afflicted by a sleep-depriving tinnitus. What a thrill that was.

I can hear!

Sister Alice

Had tea with Sister Alice. She is the prayer woman of the hospital. Story is she was once a nurse as a young girl in the old mission hospital. Recently she was admitted in the new hospital with status asthmaticus. When she got better she was called by the nurses who recognized her to pray with them and soon she was invited to join the staff as a prayer woman. Now she goes around the hospital daily praying for all the patients and staff. It’s amazing when she comes into the OPD and starts praying there in Pashtun in full view of the patients (who, also amazingly, do not find it offensive but will bow humbly in prayer also.)

Some facts I learnt about Pennel Memorial Christian Hospital:
- first setup by Dr. Pennel 150yrs ago, a British missionary who walked among the people in Pashtun garb, and spoke fluent Pashtun. Story is after he died, a man blinded by cataracts asked to be operated by Dr Pennel. But upon learning that Pennel had departed, he said, ‘If Dr Pennel is alive, I want to be operated on by him, but if he is no longer with us, I have no need for vision.’
- The mission hospital has been defunct for 50 years
- Reconstructed over the old hospital 2 years ago with funds from Diocese of Peshawar (Anglican), government grant and Finnish support
- Now self-supported, patients are charged minimal sum for consultation/drugs/surgery
- 600,000 rupees monthly expenses, in gross deficit every month
- 4 doctors, 67 ancillary staff consisting nurses, lab technicians, translators and other workers. Visiting dentist (Reginald’s wife) and ophthalmologist (Reginald’s brother.)
- 50 bedder
- Active outreach work to remote villages in Bannu to provide vaccination and to ‘collect’ patients in need of hospitalization
- Many services not available have to be ‘contracted’ out to private labs, or to Peshawar
- 2 other hospitals in Bannu: one military hospital not accessible to civilians, and one government hospital which is in even worse shape

Doctors at work - Reginald, Faith, Joan, Julia (from Kazakhstan)

The 2 o'clock Lord's prayer in the foyer

The guard who keeps us safe from unwanted intruders, and keeps us from going out without permission!

Back to Log Index

No comments: