In order to maintain a government license, all Kenyan hospitals are required to have a mortuary.
Helen did not know how old she was, but she was thought she was in her 90’s. She had lived all of those many years in a mud hut in Kenya with a few animals and a garden—marrying, raising children, and then outliving them all.
When Helen died last summer, she was taken to the nearest mortuary, which consists of one large room with closets where bodies are sometimes stacked three deep on shelves meant for one. The smell of formaldehyde is overwhelming there—not surprising, given that it is a substitute for refrigeration.
Death haunts every home.
Every day brings death and life in rural western Kenya. The Nyakach Plateau, with the country’s highest maternal and infant mortality rate and the highest HIV rate, is home to more than 135,000 people whose precarious survival depends on growing their own food. The mortality rate for children is a shocking 15%, and for adults it is 8-10%. Forty-two people die on an average day in this area of destitute poverty.
Bethlehem Home Hospital
With the support of Straw to Bread, a local Kenyan young man received his medical training at the University of Nairobi and returned home as Dr. Don Ogolla, physician for the new Bethlehem Home Hospital that opened in October of 2015.
Almost everyone who lives on the Plateau travels by foot, and the two other hospitals within walking distance of several miles—a Catholic mission hospital and a government hospital—have no permanent on-site physician, and are too expensive for most Nyakach residents. With the new hospital’s busy out-patient clinic and an in-patient ward often filled to capacity, Bethlehem Home Hospital is meeting a vast need. Though the new hospital means that healthy newborns and healing are more common now, death still haunts every hallway.
The Bethlehem Home Mortuary also will serve as a new and crucial source of income for the Bethlehem Home community. Sadly, the high death rate means that our existing funeral business of renting large tents and providing catering has provided the most dependable income of all the businesses started by Bethlehem Home. The mortuary services would be combined with the funeral business to provide comprehensive and efficient care for families.
From a sustainability point of view, the business plan assures a strong basis for expected ongoing success of the mortuary.
How much will it cost? $110,000
This total amount of seed money includes building costs, supplies and start-up costs, and three months operating expenses.
We get to help. Will you join us? Send a check to “Straw to Bread” at PO Box 241 Waco, TX 76703.
For more information:Mortuary Brochure 10-22-17
You may also email Executive Director Lisa Baker MD PhD: Lisa.Baker@StrawtoBread.org.