What’s in a Hospital?

Published On: August 14th, 2020By Categories: Development, Health, Solar Power

Hello, friends of Maji. Summer usually sees a giving slump, but in July MDC was given almost $10,000. Our announcement of a video highlighting the Maji Hospital brought a match offer from childhood friend, Larry Gingrich, and so many of you responded generously. Thank you–you know who you are!

Unfortunately, corona virus cases in Ethiopia are rising, and have spread out of the capital city now. As of August 10, cases numbered 22,818, and deaths began to rise from five at the end of May to 407 on August 10. In a country of 100 million, that’s still a very low per capita rate. May it stay that way.

Now to the question in the title of this blog: what’s in a hospital?

Equipment sits in the Maji Hospital storage room, waiting for power.
Photo: Noah Friedman-Rudovsky

As a non-medical person, I know lots of medical equipment is run by electricity, but beyond that, I’m vague about the details. I was fascinated to see the list of equipment that will be run by the 96 solar panels, batteries and wires that we will order soon for power in the Maji Hospital. Not only fascinated, but thrilled to imagine these things humming away to serve vulnerable people in Maji for the first time ever. Here is the list:

  • Lighting
  • Autoclave
  • Digital scales (4)
  • Oxygen concentrator (3)
  • Radiant warmer for infants (4)
  • Vaccine fridge (2)
  • Microscope (4)
  • CBC machine (Automatic Hematology Analyzer)
  • Centrifuge 
  • Ultrasound/X-ray
  • Deep freeze fridge 
  • Surgical light
  • Anesthesia machine 
  • Electric operating table

The solar power system we will order is expandable–there is lots and lots of roof space. We will add power for washing machines in the future. We will also look into solar water heating units for the washing and showers. These are things that have never been seen in homes or clinics in the entire district of 35,000 people, or in the cachement area of the hospital, population 60,000. They will make a huge difference in health care for these precious people.

As we in the USA raise the last few thousand dollars needed for the equipment order, we go out only cautiously, wear masks, wash our hands, long for hugs, feel shame and remorse over the ways our systems have treated brother and sister citizens … all the many parts of living in these chaotic times.

In Ethiopia, Ato Markos and community leaders have finished negotiating the local cost-share even as the people of Maji also face chaos. The southern state of Ethiopia, a federation of many ethnic groups, has broken into five states now, and new administrative staff and capital cities have yet to be assigned. The people of Maji wait anxiously for the virus to reach them. And still, Ato Markos tells me every time I call that they pray for us in the USA, hearing the news of how many are affected by the health crisis and our economic crisis. What a joy to be linked half-way around the world with people who are different from us, and so much the same.


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