Dr. Dwight Slater, MD & CEO of CEH
Dear supporters and prayer warriors for CEH,
The board of Compassion Evangelical Hospital and the administrative staff are working hard to improve communication with you about activity surrounding the ministry in Guinea. Pray for us as we develop each of these avenues of communication with you. Here are a few improvements currently underway:
· A new website is being designed by Mike and Denise along with Jackie. This will be more informative and interactive for those who visit it.
· Quarterly printed updates will continue. These are sent out by email or by postal service as you designated to us. If you choose to get these via email they arrive faster and at a lower expense. We value the communication with you and want to continue it by whatever means you desire. Please let us know your preference on receiving the quarterly update.
· Dara created a new LinkedIn site for CEH. Both Instagram and Facebook development are in place. We will try to more regularly inform those who want to follow us on these platforms. Links to these social media platforms are below.
· Intercessor topics are sent out by email from Debbie to some of our churches who request regular monthly prayer points to fuel their intercession.
· A separate translation of spiritual ministry stories from the hospital are communicated via Steve for those who want to be on that email list. We will add your name and address if you desire.
· A small YouTube channel linked to the website is being developed by Goeff to tell some of the stories of the hospital to present the ministry in that manner.
Our new U.S. Office telephone number is: (877) 948-8729
Our Post Office Box is: P.O. Box 870, Southfield, MI 48037
Our Street Address is: 25811 Chapelweigh Dr., Farmington Hills, MI 48336
COVID 19 certainly affected all our lives throughout the world. Thankfully, this did not deeply affect Guinea as it did in the U.S. There was a total of about 15,000 cases but only 85 deaths in a nation of 13 million people. Because this is a novel virus, Guinea took precautions following the lead of many western nations. Since the capital of Conakry is the primary contact point with the rest of the world, the initial source of contamination was travelers arriving in Conakry from Europe, Asia, and the United States. Interestingly, Conakry is located on a peninsula coming in from the Atlantic Ocean and has only one exit road to the mainland of the country. So the nation required rapid COVID testing of everyone leaving the capital and coming into the mainland. This markedly limited transmission to the main rural population of 10 million. It was mandated that everyone wear masks, encourage social distancing, though the promoted distance was only about one meter, or 3 feet. Taxis were required to reduce the number of passengers. The cost of intercity travel almost doubled, but the economy was not shut down nationwide. Agriculture and mining, which are the two primary industries, continued without interruption, so the economy was not crippled. Large gatherings were discouraged for several months until it was determined which communities were relatively free of COVID cases. Then larger gatherings were allowed, including all religious services opening up to larger groups, not specifying an arbitrary upper limit. This was on a community/county basis rather than a nationwide shutdown. All schools were closed for a period of time except for those classes anticipating promotion to the next school level. These finished off their year and took their tests. Other children caught up on classes in September and October prior to the national election. They were delayed but did not lose the entire academic year. In December all schools opened to in-person classes nationwide. The median age of the nation is only 19, which may contribute to their protection despite the lack of all the resources present in the West. God is gracious and protected this nation in His sovereignty. In contrast, on February 14th Guinea announced that a new small epidemic of Ebola broke out near the border of Liberia. Six of the first ten patients died. In Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone between 2013 and 2016, 28,616 people caught this Ebola virus and 11,310 died. Vaccinations developed during the last epidemic were sent to Guinea from the World Health Organization. Pray that this epidemic will be rapidly contained this time.
Giving and Construction Projects ECFA reported that during 2020 most charitable organizations of our size experienced reduced contributions. Exceptionally, CEH was blessed to have an approximate 17% increase in giving last year. U.S. administration and promotional costs were kept at less than 5%. This allowed multiple projects to move forward in Guinea. We are grateful to the Lord and to you! We pray it may continue. The major project of 2019 was the dental and ophthalmology office building. It was completed in 2020 and put into service. 300 cataract surgeries occurred per year for the last three years in conjunction with the national residency. There is now an office to comprehensively care for them. An Ophthalmology fellow works part time and the quality of other eye care improved with the training of a nurse as a nurse practitioner in optometry. She cares for eye infections, minor eye trauma, pre and post-op care of cataracts, and measurements for and treatment of glaucoma. The dental ministry did not expand as rapidly as hoped. Recently it was discovered that the fluoride level of the water around Mamou is about four times the level of what is recommended in the U.S., making teeth quite hard and resistant to cavities. However other dental hygiene issues and gingivitis still make it necessary to extract teeth. The dentist is becoming well known in the area for trauma care of the jaw and teeth. He is also trying to expand his own ministry to local schools and villages by dental preventative educational outreaches.
The new large pharmacy construction was completed with its necessary pedestrian connection ramps and put into service at the end of 2020. The new community health program offices were built in 2020 and prepared to begin coordination of that dynamic new ministry in 2021, touching a large population of 350,000 in the area. That team of four people currently work from their homes and several storage rooms. The ministry primarily reaches into schools and villages presenting education: Covid-19 prevention sessions, malarial prevention sessions, educational sessions for boys and girls regarding coming into puberty, ergonomic training regarding avoidance of agricultural accidents and back injuries, nutritional programs for malnourished children, and helping newborn infants breathe. Using a “teachers training teachers” principal of multiplication of hearers, a large number of people in the area are reached. Clearly there may be a constraint on accuracy and quality of transmission of messages through these multiplication links, but basic village health workers are trained in 19 villages and some health materials and medications are supplied to them. Through all this, people are educated, life practices are changed, and they are connected to the hospital's higher quality services now available to them. Construction of the nursing school building began. Plans are to open it to new classes in October of 2021. The building is roughed in. Plumbing, electricity, floors and internal plastering need completion prior to its opening. Some equipment such as mannequins, tables, chairs and desks for this school are in the 40’ container on the Atlantic headed to Mamou, Guinea. Recruiting for teachers and the potential students for that school is ongoing. Quality training of health care personnel with both accurate theoretical foundation and hands-on clinical practice is one of the greatest deficits in most developing nations. Pray for these endeavors!
Medical Capacity and Administrative Growth The first new 2021 construction is building a home ($75,000) for Dr. Paul and Elizabeth to live in on the station. The blueprint was finalized with input from both sides of the ocean, the land was cleared and the foundation dug. This couple is foundational to the ministry at the hospital. Dr. Paul is an excellent general surgeon with capacities in trauma, orthopedics, family medicine, and tropical medicine. It is a great privilege to have him this last year and a half. Services improved in all of these areas because of Dr. Paul’s input and training of fellow staff members. The number of surgeries tripled since his arrival and quality of surgeries done at the hospital (particularly in trauma and orthopedic cases) is markedly improved. Having Dr. Paul live on the station is essential to this work. He and Elizabeth are currently housed in our mission guest house. Elizabeth is an excellent Assistant Director of the hospital, particularly working in the human resources area, and makes marvelous contributions. Dr. Paul frequently praises his wife saying, “she is a gold mine of ideas and she can plan how to accomplish them.” She helped update each worker’s personal professional file, their legal data (as it is presented to the government employment offices), their job descriptions and clarification of the lines of accountability. Most importantly, she finds ways to clarify to the staff that our motivation of quality service is serving Christ in all we do. She gives training sessions to the mid-level departmental managers on team management skills and formulating participatory departmental goals which can be synthesized into the hospital’s annual goals. Elizabeth and Etienne articulated a five-year plan for the future direction of the hospital with input from all key members of the staff.
One of the new programs led by Elizabeth developed a community service outreach. The first project cleaned the hospital thoroughly in a one-day Saturday workday with all staff joyfully working together. The fruit of that effort was impressive. It set a tone for the ongoing importance of cleanliness. The team offered to do the same for several government offices in town first at the governor’s office and then the Police Station. However, COVID limitations came in March which hindered and postponed that ministry. Masks, hand washing stations with spigots on large jugs, and soap supplies were gifted to several communities directly around the hospital to help initiate and equip them with these simple essential measures to help protect their communities. These were gratefully received.
Medical/evangelistic outreaches to remote villages occur three times annually. This involves 10 to 15 staff members and are welcomed in the community.
Government and Economic Progress In 2020 there were some significant improvements in the government's services to the nation as well. China developed its “belt and road global policy” making infrastructure contributions to developing nations in exchange for access to natural resources. So China is improving the roads and bridges in Guinea. The main road from Conakry to Mamou and beyond to Dabola is under contract to the Chinese government. The road is not finished but improving. The private phone companies also improved their cell phone antennas to a 3G capacity directly across from the hospital. Calls can be made from the hospital in Guinea to the United States, communicating by video as well as voice via WhatsApp and Zoom. A fiber optic cable was laid along the road directly across from the hospital but is not yet functional. There is hopeful anticipation for this to become operational this coming year, so some telemedicine and medical education can begin by extension to the hospital staff. Pray for the completion of these projects. The fiber optic/IT connection project is expected to cost CEH about $10,000. This is one of our key special projects for this coming year. The hospital is steadily progressing toward the goal of autonomy and independence in being able to pay its own salaries for all 50 Guinean staff. It is the goal by the end of 2021 to have the hospital covering all the salaries of all Guinean people for normal operations. The hospital is able to independently manage their pharmaceutical supplies and much of the medical supplies purchased in country for the past three years. Though the mission primed that pump by purchasing the initial pharmaceuticals, the hospital now functions quite independently using a committed recycling fund. There are several steady suppliers. Fees are prepaid without incurring debt, keeping CEH as the priority customer. Only a modest fixed profit margin is split off to pay the salaries. This keeps prices reasonable for the patients. Our nine MIAPE missionaries will still be supported by CEH from America based on the Biblical principle that a missionary should not be a burden on those they serve. All the construction projects and capital development are and will be funded by US donations. Also contributed is a large amount of donated medical supplies and equipment in the annual containers to advance the capacities of the hospital. When there is a surplus at CEH it is shared with neighboring government hospitals.
Near Future and Ultimate Goals All of this is a significant economic contribution to the community and nation. However the deepest concern is that each of the employees develop in their maturity as Christ’s disciple, and live in a harmonious lively witness that glorifies God. Pray for them. Because of the COVID restrictions on travel, no Western missionaries were able to serve at the hospital in 2020. However, the quality of the care given this past year improved over any of the prior years. Both George and I hope to lead teams to Guinea in 2021 (we are vaccinated for Covid 19). The African staff moved forward both in the medical caregiving, administrative independence, and in the electrical construction parts of the ministry. We rejoice with this increasing maturity and independence. Africanization of the hospital is always one of the ultimate goals for the ministry. Again, this is to the glory of God!