I can’t imagine turning anyone away.
Last May I watched a 4-year-old child in Tanzania who was almost blind gain full sight!
Shadhili came into our partner hospital CCBRT with cataracts, seeing only light and darkness, nothing more. After he and his mother travelled four long days to CCBRT, it took less than 24 hours for his pre-surgery check, surgery and night rest. In the morning I sat on a bed in the children’s unit and watched the nurse take his bandages off.
I expected tears – unexpected light usually does that with children. However, a smile immediately began to emerge. He looked around, saw me, pointed and laughed. Literally within minutes we were sitting together and drawing. He asked me to draw a fish on a piece of paper and then pretended to eat it. He was hungry. He liked fish.
It was a morning encounter that you can only dream about.
Later that same day I visited the reception office of CCBRT. There I saw the black book that is used to record the number of patients that are turned away in a day.
These children are turned away because CCBRT doesn’t have enough doctors, nurses, space and equipment to treat them all.
I can’t imagine Shadhili being turned away.
How do you make a hospital sustainable – not only adequately serving patients today, but allowing for growth that serves more patients next year, five years, ten or twenty? As CCBRT’s reputation grows, so does the demand for its services.
The good news is that CCBRT found a solution, tested it, and… it worked! We’re calling it Operation Tanzania. The answer is to build a private clinic, offer services to paying patients, and use the profit to provide free medical care to kids, like Shadhili, who are caught in poverty and disability.
Our goal is to finish and equip the private clinic. We need to raise $1.1 million this Christmas for the final phase of Operation Tanzania.
I want to see more children go from blindness to sight. Let’s make no mistake, success is not when the building is completed – success is when no child is turned away.